Evaluating Tennessee football’s 2023 class at dead period: OL

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Even in a system based on tempo and spreading the field, offensive line is still crucial. For Tennessee football, it’s even more crucial, as Josh Heupel likes to utilize a vertical rushing attack to open up his passing game. This is why Heupel went out and signed four offensive linemen in the Vols’ 2022 recruiting class while adding a transfer.

With just Cade Mays departing, that certainly builds more depth. However, you can never have enough depth on your line, so he’s going to have to continue recruiting at a high level in the future up front. Given injuries and the rotation he used last year, that’s even more crucial.

Where does Tennessee football stand in the trenches for 2023 right now at the dead period? They have had a wave of momentum recently, but it’s mostly with defenders and skill players. Offensive line may be less glamorous, but it’s crucial, so with a look at the current roster, commitments and targets, here’s an evaluation of that position right now on the trail.

Here’s a look at offensive line for Josh Heupel and the Tennessee football Volunteers in their 2023 recruiting class.

Tennessee offensive lineman Jerome Carvin (75) at practice on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.
Kns Vols Filmstudy

OL on roster who will be out of eligibility 2023

Jerome Carvin

It was a huge boost for the Vols when Jerome Carvin decided to return for a fifth year, taking advantage of the NCAA’s COVID eligibility ruling to keep 2020 from counting against him. Last year, Carvin was a huge rock of versatility, as he has been his whole career on Rocky Top, having to spend time at tackle, guard and center.

At his natural position, Carvin plays guard, but given the injury issues Cooper Mays dealt with last year, he could be needed to move around again. That arguably made him the most important blocker last year, and it will make his departure even more devastating in 2023.

As a result, it’s crucial for Heupel to make sure he has offensive linemen with a certain level of versatility in his program for the future. Whether that’s with future additions or players who just joined the program remains to be seen, but Tennessee football has to address this issue since Carvin, barring an injury and a redshirt, will be gone next year.

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