6’6″ 335 pounds; Hometown: Huntington, W. Va.
We started this post talking about Pitt’s pass rush and how important it is for Tennessee football to contain that threat. Well, now we’re going to close the post with the same conversation and go to another offensive lineman.
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Darnell Wright and Cade Mays are the only two linemen who were unanimous five-stars coming out of high school. Both have plenty of experience starting, and both, as of right now, just happen to be occupying the two tackle spots. Given what Pitt does, playing tackle alone makes them the two most important linemen. However, when you add their skills, it becomes even more clear.
Given the fact that Wright plays left tackle, there’s another positional factor that makes him key. Joe Milton III is a solid, mobile quarterback who will be able to elude tackers in the pocket. However, left tackle is his blindside, so that’s the one area he’ll need the most help.
As a result, Wright is going to be the most important player on the field. If he doesn’t do his job, the Vols have no chance of winning, as Pitt will come away with tons of sacks. Milton is already unlikely to throw too many accurate deep balls. On the few he would have thrown, it’d be a waste if he were sacked instead.
All five linemen and everybody in the rotation have to do their job for Tennessee football, but none are more important than Wright. As a result, he tops this list. This is a great matchup for him, and if he performs, the Vols have a great shot.