Tag Archives: Marlon Walls

Tennessee’s NFL pro day: Crowded field of linemen competing for scouts’ attention

Daniel McCullers (center) visits with Mo Couch (left) during pro day on Wednesday (photo by Evan Woodbery).

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s NFL pro day is underway at the Neyland Thompson Sports Complex on campus.

Scouts have plenty of players to keep tabs on.

The Vols’ entire 2013 offensive line, much of their defensive line, a couple of experienced special-teamers and others will be working out.

The 14 players participating in UT’s pro day.

In all 14 players are going through drills. The list is in the photo at above.

We’ll update the posts periodically with notes and quotes.

Here are some 40-yard dash times, according to UT: Alex Bullard (5.69 seconds), J.R. Carr (5.22), Mo Couch (5.32), Daniel McCullers (5.35), Rajion Neal (4.53), Michael Palardy (4.64), Dontavis Sapp (4.68), Jacques Smith (4.94) and Marlon Walls (5.07).

Bench-press reps at 225 pounds: Bullard, 31; Carr, 21; Couch, 31; McCullers, 27, Corey Miller, 33; Neal, 28; Sapp, 25; Smith, 27; Walls, 21.

Tennessee’s offensive linemen work out on Wednesday (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Here are some offensive linemen numbers from the NFL combine for the sake of comparison.

In addition to the 14 players from the 2013 roster shown above, there are a few other former Vols going through workouts, including defensive backs Eric Gordon and Rod Wilks, defensive lineman Willie Bohannon and a handful of players from other local colleges.

Continue reading

Tennessee football position preview: Defensive line will be deep, but very inexperienced

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdEhFYzM4RU45WkpPRklnZ0NPblJ3bFE&single=true&gid=1&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”525″]

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

Jordan Williams will be the most experienced returning player on the defensive line (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee is losing six seniors who accounted for roughly 70 percent of the team’s snaps on its defensive line.

Some of the team’s most visible leaders are included among that group.

But while the outlook for 2014 is challenging, it’s not entirely hopeless. A large crop of newcomers will be pushed to compete for playing time immediately. Just as important, a group of inexperienced returning players will be asked to seize a fresh opportunity for playing time.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdEhFYzM4RU45WkpPRklnZ0NPblJ3bFE&single=true&gid=2&output=html&widget=true” width=”100%” height=”353″]

Among the departing players, Daniel Hood and Daniel McCullers might be among the most difficult to immediately replace. Big tackles usually don’t just arrive on campus. They are grown and develop over time. 

Jacques Smith, Corey Miller and Marlon Walls also capped their careers with solid senior seasons in 2013.

Continue reading

Tennessee recruiting: Vols have needs but also flexibility on defensive line

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdDFkQjlNckE4dTlJV1ZXMUFMYjd2TUE&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” height=”600″]

Butch Jones watches practice last week (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s aggressive recruiting efforts show no signs of slowing, even as the Vols push past the 30-man limit in their class.

Cory Thomas was the latest player to verbally commit to the 2014 class.

Here’s a look at Tennessee’s class within the context of its current roster. Be sure to check out the disclaimer and details below.

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdHdmMDg5ZnlaZFl3VlAzNXRMSEpyeWc&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” height=”350″]

I’ve tweaked the breakdown above, adding a section for roster non-contributors. These are players who are in at least their second year in the program and have not contributed and don’t appear close to contributing right now. I didn’t want to single anyone out, but in order to provide a clear picture of the recruiting efforts, those numbers needed to be considered.

The usual caveat applies: This is a speculative exercise and may not match UT’s goals, strategy, etc.

The only major issue remains at defensive tackle, but that’s somewhat misleading, as many defensive tackles start their career at end.

Daniel McCullers (facing camera) chats with Trevarris Saulsberry before the Auburn game.

Even so, with Daniel McCullers and Daniel Hood graduating, the Vols would love to have more depth inside — both on the current roster, and in the 2014 class.

Who could grow into a defensive tackle? Anyone, really, including several options on the current roster. But if you’re looking for a big run-stuffer in the mold of McCullers, the options are more limited.

Dimarya Mixon (6-3, 265) is the only player listed as a tackle among the current group of commitments.

DaVonte Lambert (listed at 6-3, 275), Derek Barnett (6-3, 265), Thomas (6-6, 270) and DeWayne Hendrix (6-5 254) are all big ends, while Joe Henderson (6-3, 228) is in the lighter, weak-side mold.

Obviously, all heights and weights should be taken with a grain of salt, but compare those numbers to Hood (6-4, 277), McCullers (6-8, 351) and reserve tackle Trevarris Saulsberry (6-4, 291). Except for McCullers, the differences aren’t immense.

Marlon Walls (6-2, 272) is mainly an end now, although he’s played tackle before and frequently will move inside on passing downs when speed rushers come in.

Vols freshman tackle Jason Carr (6-5, 285) played briefly this year but will have a chance to earn more playing time in 2014.

Long story short, will defensive tackle be a concern in 2014? Probably. A crisis? Perhaps not.

Auburn-Vols, scenes from the sidelines (photo gallery)

Neyland Stadium, 10 minutes before kickoff (photo by Evan Woodbery)

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee will look to regain its home momentum on Saturday against No. 7 Auburn.

You can follow along with live updates on our free live blog.

Check out some photos from the sidelines below.

Justin Worley talks with a teammate (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Receivers warm up before the game (photo by Evan Woodbery)

Quarterback Nate Peterman in .gif form (photos by Evan Woodbery)

Continue reading

Tennessee football: Naz Oliver’s departure leaves Vols with 3 members of 2009 class

[gdoc link=”https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/pub?key=0AgBQnqCTaaxzdFVQOEYtcHdhdVdTUnE0ZzhIVW5IcUE&single=true&gid=0&output=html&widget=true” height=”600″]

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee confirmed the departure of senior defensive back Naz Oliver Wednesday night, although it was lost amid a flurry of significant injury news.

Naz Oliver (UT photo)

Naz Oliver (UT photo)

If nothing else, Oliver was a survivor. It’s tough to last to a fifth year in the SEC, and even tougher when you are beset by injuries and hardly play at all.

Oliver will graduate and leave UT with a degree, coach Butch Jones said. He thus could be eligible to play immediately at another school, and Jones said UT wants to help him find an opportunity if he chooses to pursue a final season.

Oliver’s departure leaves UT with three remaining signees from the Class of 2009, the only class signed by former coach Lane Kiffin. They are: defensive linemen Marlon Walls and Daniel Hood and linebacker Greg King. Tight end Joseph Ayres, a former walk-on, is also a fifth-year player.

Oliver’s departure leaves the Vols with an estimated 82 players on scholarship, including at least four former walk-ons who we think are currently receiving athletic aid. When the new semester starts in two weeks, coaches could hand out additional scholarships to walk-ons should they choose to do so. The NCAA maximum is 85.

So what does Tennessee’s scholarship roster look like now? For one thing, it no longer has a New Jersey representative. Oliver was the lone Garden State native.

Continue reading

Tennessee football 2013 spring preview: Defensive line


KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee’s first spring football season under new coach Butch Jones begins Saturday.

In the days leading up to the start of practice, we’ll take a position-by-position look at the Vols as they embark on a new season.

The defensive line will have a different look as the Vols transition back to the 4-3, but there are plenty of veterans in this group and it should be drastically improved from 2012. Coaches will be able to experiment with personnel this spring, particularly to see if any linebackers from 2012 are better fits as ends in 2013.

Follow me on  Twitter, drop me an e-mail or check me out on Youtube,  Facebook, Google Plus  or Tumblr .

Continue reading