6’0″ 205 pounds; Hometown: Austell, Ga.
We talked about the issues in the secondary when bringing up Theo Jackson. Well, many of them happened due to breakdowns at safety, as Tennessee football just wasn’t able to offset Nigel Warrior last year. Jaylen McCollough, who started alongside Warrior through the second half of 2019, had to get used to life without him.
McCollough had actually taken Warrior’s place at strong safety while Trevon Flowers, the guy McCollough replaced at free safety in 2019 as a freshman out of Georgia’s Cobb County, returned from a season-ending broken leg injury. Flowers is much healthier now and should be good to go.
Anyway, McCollough makes this list over Flowers because of his versatile abilities. He could play both safety roles and nickel, even if Flowers is better when playing free safety. We should also note that McCollough has fewer players who can back him up. He can back up Flowers, as can Tyus Fields, Cheyenne Labruzza and Theo Jackson. Only Jackson can back him up, though.
The graduate of Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Ga. has five and a half tackles for a loss, a sack, four pass deflections and 76 tackles, 53 of which were solo, over the past two years. UT can’t afford to not have him back there this year.