1. Massive turnover at linebacker
To be fair, the situation for Tennessee football is much better in the fall than it was in the spring. Also, the Vols do have lots of bodies and are likely to switch schemes, requiring fewer linebackers. However, this is still a major concern.
More from All for Tennessee
- How to Win a GUARANTEED $200 Bonus Betting Just $5 on the Vols vs. Florida!
- Tennessee Football at Florida: Five Keys to a Vols Victory
- Week 3 SEC Power Rankings: Did Tennessee Football’s Win Help At All?
- Week 3 AP Polls: Why Did Tennessee Football Drop in the Polls?
- Tennessee Football: Top Five Performers in 30-13 Win vs. Austin Peay
UT’s most productive defensive player the last two years, linebacker Henry To’o To’o, transferred to the Alabama Crimson Tide. Quavaris Crouch, another rising star at linebacker from the same class, transferred to the Michigan State Spartans. Meanwhile, J.J. Peterson and Martavius French are still in the transfer portal.
We haven’t even gotten to the outside linebackers yet who could have played edge rusher. Kivon Bennett, who was dismissed in December last year, has since joined the Arkansas State Red Wolves. Deandre Johnson transferred to the Miami Hurricanes.
Simply put, UT lost all of its productivity at linebacker. Now, the Vols return Jeremy Banks, Aaron Beasley and Solon Page III. The big story, though, is who they added. Four-star Aaron Willis was a key member of the 2021 class, and Josh Heupel did a great job securing transfers Juwan Mitchell and William Mohan from the Texas Longhorns and Michigan Wolverines respectively.
Of those, Mitchell is the only proven starter. He and Willis generate the most hype, but neither player was there in the spring. As a result, Tim Banks has a lot of work to do at the position, and if it hasn’t been properly addressed, Tennessee football’s defense is in serious trouble.