With five junior college transfers, 13 true freshmen in their 2021 recruiting class and nine transfer portal additions, Tennessee football has 27 scholarship newcomers this year. Given all the players the Vols lost, those additions are necessary. Josh Heupel is relying on transfers to make an early impact, but as a first-year head coach, he’ll also turn to true freshmen.
Some of the potential impact true freshmen, unfortunately for the Vols, have left the program. Running back Cody Brown, edge rusher Dylan Brooks, quarterback Kaidon Salter and defensive lineman KaTron Evans were all unanimous four-stars in the Vols’ 2021 class who have since left the program for a variety of reasons.
Still, there are plenty of true freshmen who could make an immediate impact. As we get set to rank them by their potential, we’ll take into account their positions, what they’ve done so far in practice and the overall hype behind them. These are Tennessee football’s top five true freshmen who could have the biggest impact in 2021.
6’7″ 265 pounds
With Austin Pope’s medically forced retirement and the transfers of Sean Brown and Jackson Lowe, the Vols have a new need at tight end. Princeton Fant will be the main receiving tight end, something he has already proven he can do, but when Heupel needs an extra blocker out there, he’s got a problem.
This is where Trinity Bell comes in. As the only tight end over 260 pounds and the only one with his height, Bell could be a huge blocking mismatch against anybody on the outside. He probably has solid enough hands to make a play in the passing game if necessary as well.
Other tight ends in the system, including Hunter Salmon, Jacob Warren and two other true freshmen, Julian Nixon and Miles Campbell, are more receiving tight ends. The product of Alabama’s Marshall County, who can also play defensive end, on the other hand, has more experience getting physical, so he could be Tennessee football’s primary blocking tight end.