Five Tennessee players who are ready for big roles in 2014

Tennessee started spring practice four weeks ago, and they will host their annual spring game next Saturday.

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The Vols are embarking on a huge spring. Replacing every starter along both lines of scrimmage is the focus, as well as finding a quarterback, which continues to be a fluid battle among four players. If Tennessee is going to at least make a bowl game this season, they’ll need these five players to play major roles:

Jalen Hurd, RB (FR)
Buzz: We’ve all heard about him; the coaching staff and the fans are ready to see him in action. They’ll get their first shot next Saturday in the Vols’ spring game, but Jalen Hurd is ready to contribute now. Hurd could also get the start over Marlin Lane, who has been banged up this spring, especially knowing Lane hasn’t lived up to expectation yet. Hurd is a fantastic looking prospect who can help Tennessee immediately.

Marcus Jackson, OG (rJR)
2013 stats: Redshirted
Buzz: Tennessee needs immediate help along the offensive line, and Marcus Jackson is ready to step in and be a difference maker. Jackson played in all 12 games at left guard in 2012 and started five games as a freshman in 2011. He’s 6-2, 304 pounds and ready to hold down one of the vacant guard spots.

Curt Maggitt, LB (rJR)
2013 stats: Redshirted
Buzz: Maggitt missed 2013 recovering from knee surgery suffered during the 2012 season, but he’s been a standout this spring. The staff has tinkered with Maggitt at defensive end in addition to his normal position linebacker. He’s just scraping the surface of just how great of a player he can be, and Butch Jones knows Maggitt will be a difference maker this season.

RELATED: Tennessee in the hunt for 2 QB prospects next week

Marquez North, WR (SO)
2013 stats: 38 catches, 496 yards, 1 TD
Buzz: North is an NFL player in the making, and he’s one of the best receivers in the country; opponents just don’t know it yet. But you better hope they find out, because North’s production ultimately will be affected by the quarterback, whoever wins the job. Everyone talks up Mizzou’s Dorial Green-Beckham; there’s not much difference between North and DGB, only that DGB gets more passes thrown his way. North is a top 10 player in the making.

Cam Sutton, CB (SO)
2013 stats: 39 tackles, 4 TFL, 2 INTs, 9 passes defended
Buzz: Tennessee’s defense wasn’t much to watch last season, but Cam Sutton is one who gets lost in the reckless defense. Just a three-star exiting high school, he played like a five-star, making two picks and recording a team-high nine passes defended. There hasn’t been much good to come from Tennessee’s defense over the last couple years, but Cam Sutton is one of them. He’s a player, and he will become a leader in 2014.

Photo Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports