Tag Archives: Austin Sanders

Tennessee spring football 2014: The offensive line

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With spring practice starting this week, we’re revisiting some of our projections from the post-season. Today: the offensive line. 

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson opted to leave early for the NFL (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee –Perhaps no other position will have a bigger impact on the Vols’ success or failure in 2014 than the offensive line.

In 2013, the Vols not only had five experienced starters, but they had five players who had worked together as a unit for at least two years.

The Vols are losing all five starters, who accounted for roughly 92 percent of all snaps taken this year. The potential replacements are green.

The offense might not have been as prolific as hoped, but the line helped power a running game that kept UT afloat when other options failed. At least three of the linemen will be in the NFL next year.

The line was also remarkably durable. Ja’Wuan James set records for longevity. None of this teammates missed any significant time this year.

As you can see from the chart below, the Vols are replacing a lot of starts and a lot of combined experience.

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Tennessee football position preview: Offensive line starting anew, but Marcus Jackson could help ease transition

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGtZaEJDLWFBclVuY1ctblQ2ZmQ2WEE&single=true&gid=1&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”540″]

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

Antonio “Tiny” Richardson opted to leave early for the NFL (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — It’s appropriate to begin our series of offseason previews with the offensive line. Perhaps no other position will have a bigger impact on the Vols’ success or failure in 2014.

In 2013, the Vols not only had five experienced starters, but they had five players who had worked together as a unit for at least two years.

The Vols are losing all five starters, who accounted for roughly 92 percent of all snaps taken this year. The potential replacements are green.

The offense might not have been as prolific as hoped, but the line helped power a running game that kept UT afloat when other options failed. At least three of the linemen will be in the NFL next year.

The line was also remarkably durable. Ja’Wuan James set records for longevity. None of this teammates missed any significant time this year.

As you can see from the chart below, the Vols are replacing a lot of starts and a lot of combined experience.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdGtZaEJDLWFBclVuY1ctblQ2ZmQ2WEE&single=true&gid=2&range=a1%3Al7&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”330″]

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A look at Tennessee’s 2013 class: Who played, who will take a redshirt (chart)

Receiver Johnathon Johnson goes up for a catch during warmups at Missouri earlier this year (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Two members of Tennessee’s 2013 class played in all 12 games this year.

One is easy to guess. The other is much more difficult.

Freshman cornerback Cameron Sutton was likely the most pleasant surprise of the hastily assembled 2013 class, starting every game and emerging as perhaps the Vols’ most trusted defensive back.

Who also played in every game? Freshman safety Lemond Johnson was a special teams regular, despite (as far as I can tell) not playing a single snap on defense.

(Note: Freshman walk-on Devaun Swafford also played in all 12 games. Thanks to @donnieconley for the catch).

Receivers Marquez North, Josh Smith and Johnathon Johnson also played important roles in 2013. Some who I expected to have a major impact — like tight end Woody Quinn and cornerback Riyahd Jones hardly played at all.

As Tennessee welcomes a huge signing class in 2014, it’s worth remembering how difficult it is project freshman performance. Even arriving early is no guarantee of success. Of the five players who enrolled early and went through spring practice in 2013, only one made an impact beyond special teams. That would be defensive end Corey Vereen.

 Who can take a redshirt?

Officially, six players did not take a snap and are eligible for a redshirt season: Offensive linemen Brett Kendrick and Austin Sanders, defensive ends Malik Brown and Kendal Vickers, quarterback Riley Ferguson and receiver Ryan Jenkins.

Jenkins is battling a worrisome chronic injury, so it will be interesting to see how or if he responds in spring. The linemen weren’t needed immediately and got a chance to bulk up and work out during the season. Ferguson was on call until the very end, but ultimately survived the season with his redshirt intact.

In theory, there are two more defensive linemen who would be eligible for a medical hardship waiver — sometimes called a medical redshirt — if they sustained documented injuries during the season. Jason Carr and Jaylen Miller played in only three games (all during the first half of the season).

I’m not sure UT intends to request waivers for either player, however, because coaches didn’t “sell” the hypothetical “injuries” very aggressively during the year. In fact, Carr was even mentioned as a possible option to play late in the year.

We’ll find out soon enough whether Carr and Miller enter 2014 as sophomores or redshirt freshmen.

 

Name High school Position 247Sports Composite rating Games played Games started
Marquez North Mallard Creek (Charlotte, N.C.) WR 0.9574 11 11
Joshua Dobbs Alpharetta (Alpharetta, Ga.) QB 0.9276 5 4
Jason Carr White Station (Memphis, Tenn.) DL 0.9197 3 0
Jalen Reeves-Maybin Northeast (Clarksville, Tenn.) S/LB 0.9051 11 0
Ryan Jenkins Lassiter (Marietta, Ga.) WR 0.8832 0 0
Austin Sanders Bradley Central (Cleveland, Tenn.) OL 0.8793 0 0
Riley Ferguson Butler (Matthews, N.C.) QB 0.8741 0 0
Paul Harris Frederick Douglass (Upper Marlboro, Md.) WR 0.868 5 0
Corey Vereen West Orange (Winter Garden, Fla.) DE 0.8678 9 0
Lemond Johnson Cooper City (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) S 0.8656 12 0
Cameron Sutton Jonesboro (Jonesboro, Ga.) CB 0.8625 12 12
Jaylen Miller Gaffney (Gaffney, S.C.) DL 0.8566 3 0
A.J. Branisel Notre Dame-Cathedral Latin School (Chardon, Ohio) TE 0.8503 10 0
Johnathon Johnson Friendswood (Friendswood, Texas) WR 0.84 10 2
Malik Brown Dwyer (Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.) DE 0.8387 0 0
Dylan Wiesman Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) OL 0.8352 10 0
Brett Kendrick Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.) OL 0.8296 0 0
Malik Foreman Dobyns Bennett (Kingsport, Tenn.) CB 0.829 9 0
Riyahd Jones Carver High (Columbus, Ga.) CB 0.8262 2 0
Josh Smith Christian Academy of Knoxville (Knoxville, Tenn.) WR 0.821 11 4
Woody Quinn St. Margaret’s Episcopal (Calif.) TE 0.8091 2 0
Kendal Vickers Havelock (Havelock, N.C.) DE 0.7997 0 0
Jabo Lee Dillon High (Dillon, S.C.) RB