6’0″ 193 pounds
Similar to Jaylen McCollough, Alontae Taylor battled a nagging injury last year, and his performance suffered as a result. Also, just like the rest of the secondary, he had to adjust to Tennessee football losing Nigel Warrior, returning Trevon Flowers from injury and missing Shawn Shamburger, their highest graded returning player from 2019, for almost the whole year at nickel.
Now, the Vols should be adjusted to Shamburger gone, but there is another major concern, as cornerback Bryce Thompson, their best defensive back last year, left early for the NFL. With his departure, though, comes opportunity, and that departure makes Taylor a much safer bet to start at cornerback this year. He’s almost certain to be the No. 1 cornerback.
Taylor, when healthy has either been the full-time starter or a by-committee starter at cornerback the past three years. If Thompson were back, he’d probably be competing with Warren Burrell, Kenneth George Jr. and even Kamal Hadden and Brandon Turnage for that No. 2 spot.
However, with Thompson gone, Taylor’s experience makes him the clear-cut favorite to be the No. 1 cornerback. Heupel reaffirmed that by bringing him to SEC Media Days along with Velus Jones Jr. back in July. If healthy, he is clearly going to be the leader of the secondary, so his spot is safe.