Three Minute Drill: 9 Tennessee Volunteers
2015 Recap: A heartbreaking double-overtime loss to Oklahoma in the second week of last season set the tone for the Vols in 2015. After that, Tennessee lost three games, all by a margin of five points or less. Looking at last year makes it incredibly hard to gauge how the Volunteers will fare in the upcoming season. Sure they played two College Football Playoff teams to the wire, but who did they beat? Nobody really. Tennessee has some freakish individual talents, but winning big games as a unit has yet to be seen.
Appointment TV Player: Tennessee’s defense is LOADED with talent, but leading the pack is Derek Barnett. Believe it or not, Barnett regressed from his freshman season statistics. Through two years in Knoxville, he has racked up 20 sacks and 33 tackles for loss, which is an unparalleled.. with the exception of Myles Garrett. Expect him to be a top-10 pick in this upcoming NFL Draft.
Breakout Player: None of Tennessee’s returning receivers eclipsed 35 receptions, 450 yards receiving, or 3 touchdowns in 2015. Let’s just say they were an underwhelming group. Sophomore Preston Williams didn’t even catch 10 passes last year, but there’s a good chance he’s the most talented receiver on the roster. The former four-star recruit has a 6'4 frame and is impressive at the catch point which should make him lethal in the red zone. Expect him to lead the Vols in every receiving stat by season’s end.
Socially Exceptional: Did we mention that Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie’s son Kahlil is on the team. Not just on the team. McKenzie was a five-star recruit in the 2015 class, and is another strong candidate to have a breakout year.
2016 Expecations: The fact that we didn’t even get to talking about the Vols running game speaks to how talented they are. Their lead back Jalen Hurd and their jack of all trades back Alvin Kamara are both guys who will be playing on Sundays. That’s kind of the epitome of Tennessee. A lot of exceptional players who will get a phone call on draft day, but what have they done as a team so far? Nada. We think that changes this year. Alabama will still win the SEC, but the Vols are going to beat them at Neyland and win the East.
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