4. Running back
It’s kind of ironic. Tennessee football suffered its biggest hit offensively in the transfer portal with Eric Gray leaving for the Oklahoma Sooners and Ty Chandler leaving for the North Carolina Tar Heels. However, this isn’t a position of concern for the Vols because they were able to bring in and return enough talent at the position.
Jabari Small is the one returning back, and he saw the most action in the spring. Junior college transfer Tiyon Evans is the most complete back and the biggest star. Those two guys are likely to be the ones competing for the full-time starting running back role.
Then there is the competition for the other running back roles, as Heupel runs multiple backs, usually with a combination of speed and power. Small could compete for the all-purpose back spot with newcomer Jaylen Wright, a speedster who will be a star.
On the power side, Tee Hodge, Dee Beckwith and Len’neth Whitehead are all in competition to take that spot. These would be goal-line backs who pick up the necessary one yard for a first down and a touchdown. That’s where the stiffest competition is, but every spot is wide open right now, even if we know this won’t be a weakness on the team.