Previous school: Texas Longhorns
Although Chase McGrath technically has less competition to start in terms of numbers, Juwan Mitchell is Tennessee football’s most certain bet to start this year among the transfers. He was the biggest headliner of all the transfers this offseason.
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Mitchell is coming off a season with the Texas Longhorns in which he had four and a half tackles for a loss, a pass deflection, a fumble recovery and 62 total tackles, 32 of which were solo. In two years with Texas, Mitchell has registered eight tackles for a loss, three sacks, five passes defended, a fumble recovery and 99 tackles, 58 of which were solo.
Simply put, at 6’1″ 226 pounds, Mitchell can do it all. Josh Heupel targeted William Mohan to provide depth at linebacker and compete for a starting job. He brought in Mitchell specifically to start and help offset the departures of Henry To’o To’o to the Alabama Crimson Tide and Quavaris Crouch to the Michigan State Spartans.
Martavius French and J.J. Peterson in the transfer portal also made this position wide open. Sure, Aaron Beasley, Solon Page III and Jeremy Banks are returners providing experience. Aaron Willis is a rising star at the position. However, Mitchell is the one elite linebacker on the roster who actually has proven experience as a starter.
Linebacker was the hardest hit position for Tennessee football in the portal. Mitchell, a linebacker, is the most proven player the Vols added from the portal. As a result, he’s the top transfer on here, and he’ll definitely start immediately.