Tennessee's new wave of players will be expected to play. Who will make the biggest impact?
If you didn’t like the team you saw in the Orange and White Game, take heed. Tennessee could field a far different team this fall.
As with all teams, there will certainly be some incoming freshmen (and transfers) who will change what the Vols look like this season. Moreover, first-year Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt hasn’t shown any hesitancy to try untraditional methods to beef up his roster.
Here are some players who could help the Vols this season:
RB Jeremy Banks
Even though UT’s backfield looked solid during the Orange and White Game, Pruitt still will look for more help this fall. That will open the door for Banks, who is 6-2 and 215 pounds. That fits what Pruitt wants in a running back. While Banks, who is from Cordova (Tenn.) High School, was considered just a 3-star prospect, he’ll still get an opportunity this fall. Also, running back is typically one of the easiest positions to make an impact as a true freshman.
QB Keller Chryst
A graduate transfer, Chryst didn’t leave Stanford and come to Tennessee to sit on the bench during his last season of eligibility. Chryst plans on playing and the Vols will give him ample opportunity to do so. Jarrett Guarantano has a head start on Chryst thanks to being available for spring practice, but it wouldn’t be at all surprising if Chryst won the starting job.
Chryst, who is 6-5, 234, split time last year at Stanford before losing his job to K.J. Costello. In parts of three seasons, Chryst threw 19 TD passes against 6 interceptions.
DB Kenneth George Jr.
There’s no question the Vols need help in the secondary. George might be able to provide that. At 6-0 and nearly 200 pounds, George has the size that Pruitt covets in a defensive back. George might prove to be a great find for the Vols. He largely flew under the radar at Trinity Valley (Texas) Community College. However, he did have a scholarship offer from Nebraska.
DB Nick Harvey
The Vols are in the running for Harvey, who is a graduate transfer from Texas A&M. Harvey started 12 games in 2016 before being sidelined last season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. He visited UT earlier this month and also has visited South Carolina and Auburn.
Harvey said he will announce his decision May 11.
OL Jahmir Johnson
The Vols clearly need help on the offensive line. Johnson, who is from Arizona Western Junior College in Yuma, Ariz., will be expected to contribute immediately. Johnson had several scholarship offers from Power-5 schools. He most likely projects as an offensive tackle.
RB Madre London
A transfer from Michigan State, London won’t be expected to make a huge impact at Tennessee, but he could certainly take some of the load off UT’s other tailbacks. London is 6-1 and 218 pounds. He should be able to give the Vols more size and power out of the backfield.
London was a 3-star recruit out of South Florida powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in 2014. He shared the backfield with Florida’s Jordan Scarlett, among others. Nick Bosa (Ohio State) also was on that team.
LB J.J. Peterson
Peterson was one of UT’s highest rated signees in February. The 4-star prospect from Colquitt County in Moultrie, Ga., will be expected to at least be a part of the Vols’ rotation at linebacker this season. The Vols have two proven linebackers, Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Daniel Bituli, but little else at the position.
TE Dominick Wood-Anderson
Don’t be surprised if Wood-Anderson starts this season. At 6-5 and 245 pounds, Wood-Anderson should be more physical at the line of scrimmage than any tight end the Vols have. The prospect from Arizona Western Junior College in Yuma, Ariz., was highly sought after. The Vols beat Alabama for Wood-Anderson.