6’4″ 295 pounds
With Tim Banks’ new scheme comes a new way to use defensive linemen, particularly the defensive tackles. Tennessee football will expect its defensive tackles to make big plays, not just command attention to free up the defensive ends and edge rushers. Matthew Butler is one of those guys who could actually fill both voids.
Butler was a guy who would play up on the line at the one defensive end spot in Jeremy Pruitt’s 3-4 scheme. His job was still to command attention, but he also made plays when necessary. Now, with the change in scheme, he’s likely to stay in the middle.
In the process, Butler could become a breakout star. He’s one of the seniors on here who decided to stay another year despite graduating. Over each of the past two years, he has registered three tackles for a loss and at least two sacks. In 2019, he had two pass deflections, and last year, he had a pass deflection and a forced fumble. Oh, he also had 88 tackles, 45 of which were solo.
Simply put, the graduate of Garner Senior High School in North Carolina’s Wake County has done more than enough to show that he could be the top defensive linemen this year. That makes him one of the top seniors on this list as well.