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Tennessee Football’s top five redshirt freshmen for 2023

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The first Tennessee Football recruiting class that Josh Heupel is fully responsible for saw quite a few impact players in 2022, and that number should grow this year with prospects who redshirted last season. These are the five redshirt freshmen most likely to make an impact on the Vols.

5. Brian Grant

Masai Reddick, Mo Clipper Jr. and Brian Grant are all offensive linemen in the 2022 recruiting class who redshirted and were candidates for this spot. Reddick and Clipper are interior linemen, but as a tackle, Grant stands out a bit more and has a better chance to get into the rotation. You can’t teach his size at 6’7″ 329 pounds, and with questions about Gerald Mincey, watch out for his potential.

4. Chas Nimrod

Both Kaleb Webb and Chas Nimrod are at 6’3″ and in the 195 to 200 pound range. One of them will be the fifth man in the Tennessee Football wide receiver rotation behind Dont’e Thornton, Squirrel White, Bru McCoy and Ramel Keyton. Nimrod has the speed advantage, though, so he’ll likely be the guy behind McCoy and Keyton at wideout.

3. Jayson Jenkins

An underrated part of Tim Banks’ system is that hybrid defensive tackle role, a guy who can line up in the middle or sometimes at end if needed. Caleb Tremblay and Ja’Quain Blakely did it in 2021, but nobody held that role last year. With Dominic Bailey still having not emerged, Jayson Jenkins could be that player this year. At 6’6″ 280 pounds, Jenkins could play even if Bailey does emerge in that role.

2. Addison Nichols

One of the reasons Grant made this list over Clipper and Reddick is the expectation for Addison Nichols to emerge on the interior. Nichols has seen even more significant action recently with Cooper Mays getting banged up, and even if he doesn’t emerge at center as the coaches hoped, he could still be an impact player at guard.

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1. Jackson Ross

Paxton Brooks is gone, and Tennessee Football didn’t go to Australia to find a punter for no reason. Jackson Ross’ experience is playing Australian Rules Football, but he’s had a year in the system to learn punting in this game, so he should be able to take over now. As the only player expected to start at this point, he’s at the top of this list.

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