If the offensive line wasn’t a priority before for Tennessee football, it definitely is after offensive tackle Gerald Mincey entered the transfer portal on Thursday.
The problem is that everyone needs offensive linemen. Competition is stiff for any former starter entering the portal currently. There are freshman and younger Vols who could step up for Josh Heupel, but a portal addition wouldn’t hurt.
Here are three names to watch in the portal for the Vols.
After four seasons with the Kansas Jayhawks, offensive lineman Ar’Maj Reed-Adams announced his intentions to enter the transfer portal. Reed-Adams appeared in 31 games with 14 starts and he retains two years of eligibility.
Reed-Adams started 11 games at right tackle during the 2023 season for Kansas. According to PFF, the 6-foot-5, 325-pound lineman graded out at 64.0 for pass blocking and 63.1 run blocking. Compared to Mincey, who graded out at 62.1 pass blocking and 59.7 run blocking in the 2023 season, Reed-Adams was more effective.
Out of high school, Reed-Adams was a three-star prospect from DeSoto High School in Texas. He ranked as the No. 1,720 prospect overall in the 2020 class and the No. 140 offensive tackle by 247Sports Composite rankings.
The Vols seem to be in the mix early for Reed-Adams, and it is to be determined if he makes it to Knoxville for a visit.
Zalance “Lance” Heard entered the transfer portal after his freshman year at LSU. Heard played in 12 games this season with one start before opting to transfer.
Heard was confident in replacing Will Campbell at left tackle on LSU’s offensive line. Campbell is returning next season, likely pushing Heard into the portal. Heard went to high school with Campbell as well at Neville High School in Lousiana.
Heard has just recently entered the portal, so it is unclear if Tennessee will get involved with the lineman. It is still a recruitment to watch. Heard ranked as a five-star prospect out of high school.
The 6-foot-6 and 340-pound tackle was the No. 15 prospect overall in the 2023 cycle and the No. 3 offensive tackle according to 247Sports Composite. He primarily played left tackle in high school, and did not earn a scholarship offer from Tennessee out of high school.
Nolan Rucci only played in three games this season for Wisconsin, but his recent entrance into the transfer portal makes him a possible name to watch for Tennessee. Rucci spent three years in Madison, playing in five games.
Rucci was projected as a tackle out of high school, but Wisconsin moved him to the interior. Coaching changes also probably hampered Rucci’s chances of making it onto the field. It seems the potential is there, though.
Rucci was ranked as the No. 16 overall prospect out of high school in the 2021 class. He also ranked as the No. 5 offensive tackle and the No. 1 prospect out of Pennsylvania by 247Sports Composite. The Warwick High School product is listed at 6-foot-8 and around 300 pounds.
Also of note for Rucci — his father played at Penn State. Rucci is also pursuing a degree in aerospace engineering, a program the University of Tennessee prides itself on that Josh Dobbs graduated from.