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Tennessee Football: What to know about the Vols after spring practice Week One

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Tennessee hits the practice field on Tuesday to begin its second week of spring camp. While no one has cemented a starring role for the Vols just yet, there are some strong conclusions to be made.

Here are some storylines after Week One:

Joe Milton III IS the starting quarterback

From multiple sources, Milton will almost assuredly be Tennessee’s first-team quarterback throughout the offseason and into fall camp. Per sources, Milton is practically a lock to start the season. For highly touted freshman Nico Iamaleava to see the field this fall, Milton would have to struggle in games to lose playing time.

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Milton showed how good he can be when he lit up Clemson in the Orange Bowl. However, he had accuracy issues before. Those would have to crop up again for Iamaleava to see the field in a first-team role. Milton hasn’t been perfect, nor as he should be expected to be. The senior threw an interception to freshman linebacker Arion Carter last week. 

Freshman to watch

The Vols welcomed in a handful of mid-term enrollees in January and have a strong class of prospects still slated to arrive on campus this summer. Looking for the best of the bunch? Tight end Ethan Davis is the leader so far. 

Davis has the opportunity to play immediately with Princeton Fant gone after a standout season. Moreover, Davis has shown the ability and wherewithal to keep up early in spring practice. The Vols need another tight end along with Jacob Warren for their offense to truly hit its peak. Davis has the early lead over transfer McCallan Castles.

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Running back to watch

Cameron Seldon came to Tennessee as a receiver. That didn’t last long. Seldon opened spring camp at running back, where he’ll mostly play during spring camp. This could be a move just to take the load off of the proven tailback on Tennessee’s roster. However, it could also be a move to bring more play-making ability to the Vols’ backfield. At 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, Seldon looks mature in a running back room filled with smaller backs. 

Running back coach Jerry Mack has been playing close attention to Seldon in practice. Mack gives Seldon the most feedback of just about any back in practice. It is clear Tennessee coaches want Seldon to play a big role at tailback, and he has the urgency in practice to mirror that. Seldon could fill a role that Princeton Fant had to play last season – power back. The Vols lacked a heavier back in short-yardage situations so Fant had to fill that void. Seldon could be that guy this season.

Incomer to watch

The Vols need help on the offensive line after losing Darnell Wright and Jeremiah Crawford from last season. John Campbell Jr., should be able to step into one of those vacancies, most likely at tackle. Campbell, who transferred from Miami, has shown off his strength and ability to manhandle defensive ends early in spring camp.

Slot receivers to watch

Squirrel White is following up his standout freshman campaign with a strong start to spring camp. White has garnered praise from Tennessee coach Josh Heupel. So far, it looks like White has the inside track over highly touted transfer Dont’e Thonton from Oregon. However, the former Duck has looked really good thus far in spring camp.

More Vols

Defensive tackle Omarr Norman-Lott has been solid and made at least one big play in the backfield…BYU transfer Gabe Jeudy-Lally has been running with the second-string defensive backs…Fellow Cougar transfer Keenan Pili looks like he’ll be a factor at linebacker…The Vols could use another center or will have to shuffle offensive linemen if something happens to Cooper Mays. There’s no depth there as of now.

Caleb Jarreau contributed to this report

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