6’0″ 205 pounds
Turnovers has been a crucial method to beating South Alabama. They are No. 97 on the year in fewest turnovers, as they have committed 17 on the year, including eight interceptions and nine fumbles. This often nullifies how well their defense plays. Key players involved in those turnovers all year have been safeties for the opposing teams.
Three of South Alabama’s interceptions have gone to safeties, and defensive backs have forced three of their fumbles. As a result, Tennessee football will need somebody who has proven that he can do a little bit of both of those things.
Jaylen McCollough obviously fits the mold. McCollough leads the the team in interceptions with three on the year, and he has also forced a fumble. Alontae Taylor has two picks and a forced fumble, so he could be on here as well, but McCollough can also play up on the line, making him more valuable in more ways than one as South Alabama has allowed 76 tackles for a loss.
Speaking of tackles for a loss, Theo Jackson is another guy that at least deserves a mention here, like Taylor, since he leads all defensive backs in tackles for a loss along with pass deflections. All three players will be critical, but McCollough is the most set up to make big plays.