Brick By Brick: An Analysis of Team 118's Newest Arrivals
Jun 05, 2014 6:32 PM EDT
Since the remainder of the 2014 class is beginning to arrive, I thought it would be a good idea to give an overview on the newcomers. Lets get started.
- Josh Malone: Josh Malone was one of 14 early enrollees who arrived on campus this spring. Malone had an excellent spring and capped it off with a 6 catch, 181 yard performance in the spring game. Three of those six catches went to the checkerboards. Expect for Malone to make a big impact this upcoming season and throughout his career.
- Jalen Hurd: Jalen Hurd was another one of the early enrollees for the Vols. Along with Malone, Hurd also had a solid spring. He was the leading rusher in the spring game with 66 yards on 11 carries and a touchdown. Look for Hurd to split time with Senior Marlin Lane but, don't be surprised if he ends up starting mid-season.
- Todd Kelly: Todd Kelly is one of the most intriguing prospects in this class. His father, Todd Kelly Sr., played defensive end for the Vols from 1989-1992. With the lack of depth at safety and Ladarrell McNeil failing to live up to expectations, expect for the younger Kelly to get significant reps and possibly start.
- Dillon Bates: Like Kelly, Bates is also a Vol legacy. His dad, Bill Bates, played safety for Tennessee and went to play in the NFL. With linebacker being one of the Vols shakier positions, look for Bates to get reps if Weatherd doesn't make it in. Also expect Dillon to be a big time special teams player, much like Jalen Reeves-Maybin was for them last year.
- Dewayne Hendrix: Dewayne Hendrix is a very solid prospect in this class. He was very highly regarded coming out of high school and once he hits the weight room, could crack the rotation for the Vols early on.
- Derrell Scott: With Jalen Hurd getting an early start and Marlin Lane being a senior, don't expect a whole lot from Scott this year. Scott is a dynamic back who could get looks in third down situations. He will be a good one for Tennessee.
- Lavon Pearson: Von Pearson was another early enrollee who turned heads with quite a few impressive performances during the spring. Believe it or not, Pearson was even on Sportscenter's Top 10 plays of the week earlier this year. Expect for him to start opposite of MarQuez North come August 31st.
- Cortez McDowell: McDowell is a dual sport athlete who was recruited by schools all over the country for his athleticism. With some work in the weight room, I can see him getting reps on special teams and maybe even crack the safety rotation. As of right now, I see him as a possible redshirt candidate. Cortez will also play for Tennessee's baseball team.
- Daniel Helm: Daniel Helm was a top rated tight end coming out of high school, drawing comparisons to 49ers tight end Vernon Davis and former tight end Jeremy Shockey. Helm was another early enrollee with a decent spring performance. He has really strong hands and fits the system perfectly. Expect him to capture the starting role over other true freshman Ethan Wolf.
- Derek Barnett: Barnett was another highly touted defensive lineman coming out of high school. He has tremendous upside but, if he continues growing he could be moved inside to defensive tackle. Expect him to get plenty of reps, regardless of what position he plays.
- Dontavius Blair: Blair is a JUCO who could add immediate help to a depleted offensive line. After a lousy spring Blair was passed by senior lineman Jacob Gilliam. He will need a strong showing in the weight room and during summer to secure a spot in the starting lineup.
- D'Andre Payne: Payne was another early enrollee with a strong spring. Even though height is not on his side, Payne is an elite coverage corner ands much needed speed to a secondary that has been slow for years. Expect Payne to see some time on special teams and in the Nickel spot.
- Gavin Bryant: Bryant is a very underrated prospect who had a ton of non committable offers because of grade issues but, Tennessee took a chance on him. Go look at his highlights and you'll see that he has a knack for finding the football. He will do great under Thigpen and will really learn under A.J. Johnson. Expect Bryant to play a reserve role at inside linebacker and maybe some special teams.
- Charles Mosley: Charles Mosley is a massive defensive line prospect who is a little raw in some areas. He is currently 6-5 and 372 pounds. Mosley is in very bad shape as of right now, and with the right conditioning he could really blossom. Expect for Mosley to redshirt this upcoming season.
- Evan Berry: Evan Berry is another Vol legacy. His dad and brother, James and Eric, both played at UT. Evan is extremely talented and had offers from multiple SEC schools. Expect for him to crack the rotation and play some special teams.
- Ethan Wolf: Wolf, just like Helm, was an early enrollee at the tight end position. He had a solid spring and is one of the more polished tight ends in the class. He has good size and good hands and will contribute early. Look for Wolf to be behind Helm and ultimately split reps with him.
- Michael Sawyers: Sawyers is a good prospect and I think he will develop well over time. He didn't exactly WOW me at Ensworth but I believe he will end up a being a strong contributor before he is done. Look for him to possibly redshirt.
- Joe Henderson: Henderson is one of the stronger freshman coming in and is very polished at the defensive end position. He beat out top Alabama signee Da'Shawn Hand last year at a Rivals camp for MVP. Look for him to make an impact early on for the Vols.
- Rashaan Gaulden: Gaulden is probably Tennessee's most underrated signee. He is a tackling machine, which is what the Vols are in desperate need of. With the lack of depth at safety, look for Gaulden to possibly slide into the rotation and play a ton of special teams.
- Treyvon Paulk: Paulk was off to a good start at Milton last year before a knee injury cut his season short. He has good speed and can make defenders miss. Don't expect much of Paulk this season as he is still recovering and will most likely take a redshirt.
- Vic Wharton: Wharton was Butch Jones' first commit. He is an explosive athlete who can play all around. He will be a key contributor in Butch Jones' second year on Rocky Top. Look for him to play a Devin Young type role and also return punts and kicks as well.
- Jashon Robertson: Jashon is the strongest freshman coming in and is also good friends with fellow signee, Jalen Hurd. Robertson will get looks at defensive tackle but, I see a move to guard in the future. Look for Jashon to play a reserve role for UT this year.
- Dimarya Mixon: Mixon was another early enrollee who had an exceptional spring. He will give some depth to a defensive line who was lacking it. Expect Mixon to play a reserve role this fall.
- Coleman Thomas: Coleman Thomas was also an early enrollee who had a great spring. With all of the offensive lineman from last year's unit gone, Coleman will play a big role in how the offensive line holds up this year. Expect Thomas to start and make an immediate impact on the offensive line.
- Neiko Creamer: Creamer is another Vol legacy. His father, Andre Creamer, played at UT. Creamer had a solid spring at linebacker but he will most likely redshirt this upcoming season.
- Jakob Johnson: Jakob Johnson is one of my favorite signees of the class. He plays with a chip on his shoulder. He had a good spring at linebacker but the coaches moved him to defensive end at the end of spring. It will be interesting to see how he develops, which is why I think he redshirts this fall.
- Elliott Berry: Elliott is the twin brother of fellow signee Evan Berry. Both are equally as talented but I see Evan playing more this year. Look for Elliott to play some special teams this year for the Vols.
- Ray Raulerson: Raulerson was another early enrollee who played well during spring. Look for him to challenge for a starting spot during the fall.
- Emmanuel Moseley: Moseley had an excellent spring practice and really opened the coaches eyes. They rewarded him by putting him opposite of Cameron Sutton. Moseley will have a big impact on Tennessee's defense this season.
- Owen Williams: Owen Williams is another defensive tackle prospect I really like. I believe he will make an immediate impact. Don't be surprised to see him start on August 31st.
- Aaron Medley: Medley was the top kicker in the nation last year and had offers from a couple top schools. He has a really strong leg and can really boot it. He will have to beat out Bullock for the job and I think he eventually does.
- Chris Weatherd: Weatherd still has some academic work to do before he enrolls at Tennessee. When he does though he will make an immediate impact at the linebacker position. He will start from the day he steps on campus.