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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.
KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Marquez 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.