With spring practice now over, the Tennessee football team will not have official practices again until the fall. However, spring gave the coaching staff a good look at the team, and some conclusions can be drawn.
Here’s what the Vols’ offensive depth chart could look like in the fall:
The quarterback position may be one of the easiest to predict. Incumbent starter Jarrett Guarantano returns to the program for his redshirt junior season, and it’s almost certain he will resume his duties as the starting quarterback.
He had a nice spring, capped off by a strong performance in the Orange and White Game, posting 198 yards and four touchdowns, and taking home MVP Honors. The New Jersey native is going to have to take a big step in his second year at the helm, though.
He had a very inconsistent 2018 campaign, with just 1,907 yards passing and 12 touchdowns. Still, he’s the most experienced, and talented, quarterback on this roster.
Freshmen Brian Maurer and JT Shrout should provide some quality depth.
The Vols struggled to get a ground game going last season, and this could be chalked up to quite a few reasons. This year, the running back stable might be one of the more talented on the team, and there likely won’t be a clear cut starter.
Ty Chandler and Tim Jordan will likely get the lion’s share of carries, like they did last season. Jordan led the team in carries, while Chandler led the running backs in total yards from scrimmage.
Behind those two, freshman early enrollee Eric Gray should see a lot of work. Though he spent most of the spring sidelined with an injury, the coaches have all sung his praises. He’s a versatile back with a style of play similar to Chandler’s.
Sophomore Jeremy Banks should factor into the rotation as well, though not as prominently, after an up-and-down freshman campaign.
The wideouts are Tennessee’s most veteran position group, with six upperclassmen. Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings, both seniors, are shoe-ins for starting roles. Jennings got most of his work in the slot this spring, and he’s healthier than he has been in a couple of years.
Junior Josh Palmer should start out-wide opposite of Callaway. He started eight games last year, and was named the offense’s most improved player following spring practice. He’ll give the passing game a legitimate deep threat.
Jordan Murphy, Brandon Johnson, and Tyler Byrd are other veterans that should factor into the rotation, though they likely won’t start.
Tennessee’s tight ends were almost invisible last season, combining for just 225 receiving yards. The leader of that group was Dominick Wood-Anderson, with 140 of those yards, and he’ll be number one on the depth chart again this year.
He’s a good mix of size and athleticism, and though he didn’t flash in the passing game, he’s a solid blocking tight end and fits Pruitt’s mold. Behind Wood-Anderson, Jackson Lowe, another early enrollee, should see a lot of early run.
Lowe flashed in Tennessee’s spring game, despite fumbling away a long pass, and he got a lot of run starting with the second team. Austin Pope is another name to watch there, despite his struggles last year.
Like seemingly every year, the Vols’ offensive line struggle last season, and it was plagued with injuries. There is some hope this year, though, with some veterans returning, and promising newcomers joining the program.
Freshman Wanya Morris got a lot of run of left tackle, and will hold the one-spot there come fall. Beside him, Jahmir Johnson will likely start at left guard, given that Trey Smith will be unable to return.
Brandon Kennedy was granted a medical redshirt last year after tearing his ACL, and he’ll resume his role as starting center. Ryan Johnson would be the next man up if Kennedy gets injured once more.
Johnson could hold down the right guard spot as well, though K’Rojhn Calbert should hold that position, allowing Johnson to focus on playing center.
While there’s a few options at right tackle, Darnell Wright, Tennessee’s capstone signee in the 2019 class, will enroll this summer, and should have the starting spot there when the preseason rolls around. Marcus Tatum will be the next man up there, having held that position last year.