6’0″ 195 pounds; Hometown: Manchester, Tenn.
A three-year starter for Tennessee football when healthy, Alontae Taylor should be primed and ready to be the full-time No. 1 cornerback with the departure of Bryce Thompson. Warren Burrell, who has the potential, did beat out Kenneth George Jr. for the other starting cornerback spot, and Theo Jackson, who is the top veteran, is locking down the nickel spot.
However, Taylor is the best combination of experience and raw, athletic talent. Remember, he was an athlete when he committed to the Vols as an in-state graduate of Coffee County Central High School, and there was the possibility that he would play receiver.
Last year, Taylor had a hand in the struggles some of the secondary faced with the departure of Nigel Warrior and absence of Shawn Shamburger. However, he played much of the year hurt and had to split time with George as a result.
We should also note that in a “down” year while playing hurt and dealing with attrition, he still had two tackles for a loss, four pass deflections and an interception. He is an elite player, and there’s a reason he and Velus Jones Jr. were the two guys to accompany Josh Heupel to SEC Media Days this past summer. The Vols are relying heavily on him this year.