Tag Archives: Johnathon Johnson

Updating the (very) early Vols’ depth chart after a weekend of practices

Marquez North faced reporters for the first time on Saturday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee won’t even put pads on for the first time until Tuesday, so our early spring depth chart is premature at best.

The depth chart is best viewed as a constantly evolving document rather than a permanent fixture. It’s certainly not the “official” depth chart — to the extent that such a thing even exists right now. But it does reflect our best guess based on watching a limited portion of practice and talking to players and coaches.

This depth chart also includes updated numbers and weights from the newly refreshed official roster.

The full numerical roster is on the main tab. Click each tab to the left to see the projected depth chart at each position.

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A few notes on some of the changes:

* I moved Von Pearson up the ladder after he appeared in the “first unit” during drills and had a very solid few days of drills.

With only eight healthy scholarship receivers, all eight would likely play in a hypothetical game if the season started today. The actual depth chart will become more clear as UT decides how it’s going to handle the slot receiver position in the absence of Alton “Pig” Howard. Pearson is getting a look at the spot, but Johnathon Johnson is also likely to play a lot there.

* We now have at least a framework for the offensive line. Dylan Wiesman could still push Kyler Kerbyson for a guard spot, or push Coleman Thomas for a starting job, which would slide Kerbyson to tackle. But because of his versatility, Wiesman would be a good “sixth man.”

* I think we’ll see plenty of cross-training in the secondary this spring, which will make it difficult to sort out where all the pieces will fit until August. I get the sense that coaches really like Emmanuel Moseley, but he will have to gain some pounds this summer.

I did this pre-spring rundown (linked below) with Vince Ferrara a few days ago, but most of it has held up pretty well since the start of spring.

We think Tennessee has 31 scholarships to give — here’s how we came up with that number

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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — In all the talk about Tennessee’s numbers crunch, there’s one question we don’t know with absolute certainty.

Just how many scholarships does Tennessee have to offer in this recruiting cycle?

For competitive reasons, most teams like to keep that exact number under wraps.

Tennessee, like all teams, can offer no more than 25 initial scholarships in any given year. But they can “count back” some scholarships against the previous class, provided the prospects enroll early and there is space available.

One problem in determining the back-counted scholarships is that back-counting seemingly can go on in perpetuity.

Also, there’s no way of knowing for certain which players arrive with a scholarship and which are walk-ons. That distinction may become even more confusing in this recruiting cycle.

But we can make some educated guesses. And I feel fairly confident in saying that 31 is as good a “magic number” as any this year. Thanks to colleague Daniel Lewis, who helped me hash out some of the details during a math-heavy instant-message conversation. The result was this tabulation that I transferred to a spreadsheet above.

If you just want to trust me on 31 scholarships and skip this part, I don’t blame you. But here’s the nitty-gritty:

The Vols had 22 scholarship players in the 2013 cycle (after subtracting Jabo Lee and adding late signees Johnathon Johnson and Kendal Vickers).

They were able to count three of those back to 2012. The 2012 class had 23 scholarship players (including the gray-shirted Tino Thomas), and was able to count one against 2011.

This is where it becomes confusing, and this is where I think UT’s 2014 maximum grew from 30 to 31. Thomas was gray-shirted and pushed into the 2012 class because Derek Dooley didn’t think there would be room in the 2011 class. As it turns out, however, some very late academic casualties opened up a couple more slots that would have allowed Thomas to enroll. So after back-counting two early enrollees to 2010, UT had only 24 initial scholarships in 2011, allowing the Vols to count back one scholarship from 2012.

The trickle-down effect of that academic casualty in the summer of 2011 action may have led to an extra scholarship in 2014.

Of course, Tennessee may sign more than 31 on Wednesday. But that’s another story.

Tennessee football position preview: Receivers will face competition from new faces

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The third 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.

Receivers coach Zach Azzanni (right) talks to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian during practice. (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, TennesseeMarquez North emerged as a big-play threat in his freshman season with the Vols.

In an offense that struggled to throw downfield, he was sometimes the only big-play threat.

The good news is that North was still raw for much of his debut season and he should improve after a year of coaching.

Alton “Pig” Howard should hold down the slot position if he stays focused on off-the-field responsibilities. Coaches thought he turned a corner in maturity in the 2013 season, but they still have some lingering concerns about his ability to lead by example.

Jason Croom and Josh Smith shared the third receiver spot, although Croom began to pull away as the season progressed. I’m told there are no plans to move Croom to tight end, where he had worked some earlier in his career.

Only two players are leaving (see below). Vincent Dallas departed mid-season, while Josh Harris was the most surprisingly of the three players who were given their release earlier this month.

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Dallas had bounced between receiver and defensive back during his career. Harris was only a freshman, but his best chance to make an impact may have already come and gone during 2013.

There are reinforcements coming.

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Devrin Young’s quiet — but remarkable — 2013 season

Devrin Young warms up before a game earlier this season (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Wide receiver Devrin Young‘s junior season at Tennessee was slowed by a hand injury.

The Knoxville native had a hard time cracking the rotation at slot receiver, where he was behind starter Alton “Pig” Howard and impressive newcomer Johnathon Johnson.

Most of Young’s playing time came as a punt returner.

But a review of the News Sentinel’s snap-by-snap database shows that Young maximized every snap he played on the field.

Snaps per game
Auburn 3
Austin Peay 9
Kentucky 13
South Carolina 3
Vanderbilt 3
Total 31

Young played only 31 offensive snaps in 2013. When Young was on the field, the Vols collected 336 yards. That’s an average of 10.84 yards per play. No one else on the roster was even close to that mark.

Obviously, the small sample size is important here. And this statistic is more a curiosity than anything meaningful.

But it’s still amazing the way that Young had a knack for being on the field when the Vols’ offense made a big play.

Young was on the field for gains of 32, 43, 40 and 37 yards.

But it wasn’t only big plays that skewed his numbers. Young was on the field for 13 plays of 10 yards or greater. 

One more crazy stat: Young finished the year with six catches for 79 yards.

That means he caught a pass on 19 percent of the snaps in which he participated. He was on the field for only 14 pass plays, meaning he caught a pass on 43 percent of those snaps.

What does this mean for Young’s future? Perhaps not much.

Young will be a senior in 2014, and with an influx of new receivers arriving this spring and summer, Young will have to fight for every snap he gets in his last season.

But he deserves credit for making the best use of every moment he was on the field in 2013.

GVX Reporter’s Notebook: Butch Jones continues quest to root out ‘softness’ (video)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee coach Butch Jones suggested a “fan poll” on Wednesday for the athletic department’s official website: “Who is softer? Player A or Player B?”

(He actually named his culprits, but we’ll leave that part out).

The only meaningful tidbit from our brief viewing period was seeing receiver Alton “Pig” Howard in a green, non-contact jersey. Howard appeared to be going through practice normally, so the jersey was probably just precautionary. Freshman tight end A.J. Branisel and safety Brian Randolph also wore green on Wednesday.

Branisel and Johnathon Johnson caught passes in the team period we saw.

Assistant coaches talk to reporters after practice today. Jones will be on Vol Calls tonight.

Here’s the video from Tuesday’s practice session:

Vols wrap up Wednesday practice in chilly weather (photo gallery)

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie talks to running back Deanthonie Summerhill on Wednesday. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

 

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee practiced for a couple of hours late Wednesday afternoon in Knoxville.

There’s a freeze warning tonight, and it’s already starting to get chilly.

No word on if that’s why a portion of practice was indoors, but as a native Michigander, Butch Jones seems unlikely to worry about a mild chill.

We didn’t get to see much today, but here’s a photo gallery. More notes and quotes coming after we talk to assistant coaches this evening.

Running backs coach Robert Gillespie looks on as running back Marlin Lane (15) goes through drills.

Defensive backs Willie Martinez coaches during a drill on Wednesday (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

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Vols’ depth chart changes for Alabama game

Devrin Young (News Sentinel photo)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — There were some minor changes to Tennessee’s official depth chart released on Monday morning.

Devrin Young is now listed as the backup slot receiver behind Alton “Pig” Howard, supplanting Johnathon Johnson.

Freshman defensive end Corey Vereen is now listed as the third Leo end behind starter Jacques Smith and Jordan Williams.

Linebacker Curt Maggitt, who hasn’t played all year as he recovers from ACL surgery, is no longer listed as a backup on the depth chart. Christian Harris, John Propst and Greg King are all in the two-deep behind starters A.J. Johnson, Dontavis Sapp and Brent Brewer.

Tennessee football practice: Vols prepare for No. 19 Florida

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — One day after Butch Jones reopened the race for Tennessee’s starting quarterback job, he also decided to keep any secrets from leaking out about who the choice might be.

For the first time in recent memory, media were not allowed to video or photograph Tennessee’s practice on Tuesday. Jones allowed reporters to watch a small window of practice, but it offered no clue about the Vols’ quarterback race.

Unlike last week, when freshman Josh Dobbs worked with the scout team, all four quarterbacks were working out with the main unit.

Dobbs and fellow true freshman Riley Ferguson are pushing for playing time against starter Justin Worley and redshirt freshman backup Nathan Peterman.

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Tennessee football practice: Goodbye Daniel McCullers, Hello Dan McCullers


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — The pre-practice stretch period is a time when Butch Jones usually imparts serious messages. So there was a look of mild concern among players when he announced, “I want you to know, I cut somebody today.”

He was met by silence.

“Do you know who I cut?”

More silence.

“Look around and see who’s missing.”

Finally, players caught on. No. 98 Daniel McCullers was gone.

In his place, was No. 63.

“I want everyone to welcome No. 63, Dan McCullers to the team,” Jones said.

Everyone started clapping. The media put down their rosters and stopped  hunting for a missing player.

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Tennessee football practice: Vols return after a 2-day break

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie at practice on Aug. 22, 2013. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie at practice on Aug. 22, 2013. (Photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — After 48 hours away from the practice fields, players returned on Thursday to higher expectations from coach Butch Jones.

“Nice and fresh!” he yelled. “You oughtta be nice and fresh.”

We’ll find out later if Jones noticed any rejuvenation. For now, here are some post-practice notes:

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