3. Jeremy Banks starting at linebacker
Given the transfers of Henry To’o To’o to the Alabama Crimson Tide, Quavaris Crouch to the Michigan State Spartans, J.J. Peterson and Martavius French, the latter of whom are still in the portal, Tennessee football clearly had a wide open race at linebacker. Texas Longhorns transfer Juwan Mitchell earning one of the starting spots isn’t a surprise given his proven production.
Jeremy Banks, on the other hand, is one. Banks has been playing linebacker since 2019, but he never really stood out. It does make sense that he would beat out Aaron Beasley, as they have the same experience, both are converts and he didn’t miss spring ball.
On the other hand, beating out Aaron Willis, a four-star freshman who brings a ton of hype, is a bit of a shocker, even if Willis missed spring ball too. Then there’s Solon Page III, who actually has two years’ more experience playing linebacker than Banks does. Finally, Michigan Wolverines transfer William Mohan was in the mix.
There’s a case for Banks, experience or talent wise, over each of these guys. However, the likelihood of not one of them supplanting themselves ahead of him was actually pretty thin. As a result, the 6’1″ 224-pound redshirt junior earning this spot was a shock.