4. Depth is thin at tight end.
To be fair to our last slide, wanting to run a deep rotation wouldn’t make sense on the surface if Tennessee football were going to move Julian Nixon over to tight end and not receiver. However, there’s a difference. Kaemen Marley is a player Josh Heupel is planning to put on the field this year. Nixon is more of a player to provide depth this year and then develop.
Given that fact, keeping Nixon at tight end means depth is an issue there. This makes sense. The Vols lost Austin Pope to retirement less than a week ago. Meanwhile, Sean Brown and Jackson Lowe entered the transfer portal this offseason.
Only Princeton Fant and Jacob Warren are back. Trinity Bell and Miles Campbell are two new additions at the position, but Heupel needs more guys than just those two if he is going to have the depth he needs there. Clearly the position is a concern.
Fant is safe to be the starter this year, and Warren is the likely backup. Nixon can compete with both Campbell and Bell for that third spot. Remember, he was a four-stat on ESPN and 247Sports Composite despite being a three-star on Rivals and 247Sports, so he clearly has some potential.