Okay, now it’s time to worry. Up until Wednesday, Tennessee football had just lost a backup long snapper, a fourth-string running back and a wide receiver who was buried in the depth chart to the transfer portal. They lost one productive player who wasn’t a full-time starter, edge rusher Tyler Baron, but got him back the next day.
However, now K’Rojhn Calbert, a guy who could have filled a huge void for the Vols next season is in the portal, according to Patrick Brown of GoVols247. Calbert, who missed most of this year due to injury, has another year of eligibility left and appeared in 32 games with five starts before this year. He arrived on campus in 2017.
Calbert’s starting experience was at a key position: right tackle. The 6’5″ 325-pound graduate senior proved he could man that role and actually beat out Darnell Wright for it down the stretch of the 2019 season. After Brown initially reported his departure, he confirmed it later in the night with a post on Twitter.
Thank you Volnation 🍊🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/wfKLTmxBRh
— Krojhn calbert (@Krojhncalbert) January 13, 2022
With Cade Mays gone, Tennessee football has a void at right tackle again. Assuming he could get fully healthy, the hope was that Calbert could potentially step right in and fill the void that Mays is leaving. Darnell Wright has the left side locked up and the entire interior is back, headlined by Cooper Mays and Jerome Carvin.
Right tackle is the only concern on the Vols’ offensive line entering 2022, and Calbert could have been a guy to offset that. As a result, his decision to enter the portal is a concerning one for Rocky Top, and honestly, it’s also curious as to why he’d make that decision given his potential to start next year with the Vols.
Without Calbert, Tennessee football will have to turn to Dayne Davis or maybe even Jeremiah Crawford to lock up that side, although Crawford backed up Wright at left tackle this past year. Both are solid players, and Davis is a great overachiever, but he can’t offset Mays’ departure.
Sure, it wasn’t likely that Calbert would replicate Mays’ production, but his reliability combined with the experience elsewhere could have been a huge benefit. Right tackle is a crucial position given the makeup of UT’s offense because Hendon Hooker, a running quarterback, needs lanes on that side to keep his dual-threat alive.
Now, there is some good news for the Vols in that despite Crawford and Davis being the only other experienced returners at right tackle, they have tons of young talent. William Parker, Chris Akporoghene and converted edge rusher R.J. Perry are all still there.
Meanwhile, three of the four offensive linemen commitments in UT’s 2022 class are offensive tackles, most notably Addison Nichols, one of their top-rated recruits. Finally, they added Florida Gators transfer Gerald Mincey last month, one of the most promising young tackles in the SEC.
Putting all those guys together should give Josh Heupel, Alex Golesh and Glen Elarbee plenty of options at right tackle next year. However, Calbert would have been the best bet for Tennessee football If he truly is gone, it’s a blow to the potential the Vols had to have the most experienced line in the SEC for 2022.