Tennessee football position preview: Specialist spots have vacancies after Michael Palardy’s departure

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The ninth in a series of position-by-position reviews of the Tennessee football team with an eye toward the start of spring practice in March.

Michael Palardy hugs coach Butch Jones after Tennessee’s win against South Carolina (KNS photo by Adam Lau).

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeMichael Palardy handled punts, kickoffs and field goals for the Vols in 2013, and his departure leaves no clear successor.

Incoming freshman Aaron Medley will have every opportunity to win the kicking job. He’s a well-regarded prospect, although projecting kickers from high school to college is much harder than it seems.

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Medley could face competition from veteran walk-on Derrick Brodus and another local product, George Bullock, whose career has never gotten on track after an injury as a freshman.

As for the punter spot, Matt Darr has the most experience, but a couple of walk-ons could challenge him.

Reliable snapper J.R. Carr has graduated, but Matt Giampapa has waited his turn after transferring from Michigan State, where he snapped in 2011.

A note on this series: As National Signing Day approaches, we reviewed each of Tennessee’s positions with an eye toward spring football in 2014. Click on the links for previews of the offensive linerunning backsreceiversquarterbackstight endsdefensive linelinebackers and defensive backs. Now that the previews are finished, it’s time to go back and adjust the spreadsheets to add new commitments and walk-ons. Then we’ll produce a master roster and speculative depth chart for the whole team. Once spring football gets underway, we’ll keep the chart updated so it remains as close to the real depth chart as possible.