1. Matthew Butler
Easily the most notable and productive player on the line, Matthew Butler took advantage of the NCAA’s COVID-19 eligibility ruling to come back for another year with Tennessee football. He likely had a shot at the NFL Draft too, so this is a big deal. The 6’4″ 295-pound senior is an edge rusher who will always play on the line and should help the tackles get a push in a true 4-3.
In each of the past two years playing on the edge up front, Butler has had over 40 tackles, over 20 of which were solo, and over three tackles for a loss. He also had two and a half and two sacks. With four guys up front, his production could explode, and there are times in which he will line up in the middle as well as on the outside.
2. LaTrell Bumphus
After converting from tight end to defensive end in 2019, LaTrell Bumphus showed his potential. He came away with 23 tackles, 15 of which were solo, and a stunning six tackles for a loss along with two sacks and a fumble recovery. Last year, he had 14 tackles, four of which were solo, one and a half tackles for a loss and a sack in just five games due to injury.
The 6’3″ 290-pound fifth-year senior returns this year fully healthy with a full amount of experience playing up front. As a result, he will be a force in the rotation just like Butler, and don’t be surprised if Tim Banks and Rodney Garner put them in together. This is another position that could be run by committee where both make big plays.