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Tennessee Football: Top five non-conference players Vols have to face in 2023

Although defense is the biggest issue for Tennessee Football this year, the Vols’ non-conference slate is made up of teams who will rely primarily on their defensive stars. Here are the five best non-SEC stars UT will face this year.

5. Mike DiLiello – QB – Austin Peay

Yes, the Austin Peay State University Governors actually have talent. Jordan Goco, Michael Ruttlen Jr. and Tyler Long are all NFL Draft prospects. The offense, however, goes through returning quarterback Mike DiLiello, who led APSU to a 7-4 record last year. DiLiello is a dangerous dual-threat who threw for over 2,400 yards and 21 touchdowns while rushing for 684 yards and eight more touchdowns.

4. Trey Moore – EDGE – UTSA

The Texas San Antonio Roadrunners are the toughest non-conference team Tennessee Football will face this year, and while offense drives this team, they have playmakers on defense. Trey Moore had 18 tackles for a loss last year, eight sacks, six pass deflections and two forced fumbles to go with 59 tackles, 30 of which are solo.

3. Jackson Mitchell – LB – UConn

Jim Mora Jr. has the Connecticut Huskies on the upswing, and while he’s an offensive mind, it’s actually due to their defense with names like Eric Watts and their safeties, Durante Jones and Malik Dixon-Williams. However, Jackson Mitchell is the star. Mitchell had an amazing 140 tackles last year to go with nine and a half tackles for a loss and four and a half sacks.

2. Aaron Faumui – DL – Virginia

Just like Jim Mora Jr., Tony Elliott is an offensive coach with a team whose best weapons are on defense. Chico Bennett and Antonio Clary are stars, but Aaron Faumui is the biggest star on the line. Faumi registered eight and a half tackles for a loss and four sacks playing in the middle last year. He’s a major threat, and given how UT relies on the run game, the Vols need to be ready for him.

1. Frank Harris – QB – UTSA

There are tons of weapons in UTSA’s offense from Joshua Cephus and De’Corian Clark at wide receiver, Kevoria Barnes at running back and Oscar Cardenas at tight end. However, everything goes as Frank Harris goes. He is the best Group of Five quarterback out there, and he will give Tennessee Football tons of trouble if the Vols aren’t careful.

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