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Tennessee Football: Vols top five position battles for spring practice of 2024

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Josh Heupel plays things close to the vest and reveals hardly anything in spring practice, but Tennessee Football still has plenty of open spots in which it needs to find starters. With most of the team already on campus, these practice sessions are a great time to get an early look at them. Here are the five biggest position battles to focus on this spring.

5. Sam linebacker

If Keenan Pili is fully healthy, then he will lock down mike linebacker. It’s also likely he’s held out this spring, so there’s hardly anything that will happen there. Aaron Beasley is gone at sam linebacker, so Tennessee Football needs to find somebody else there. Arion Carter should be the favorite to step up given his potential, but spring will give a decent early read on that.

4. Tight end

Jacob Warren and McCallan Castles are both gone, so the tight end spot is wide open. The Vols added Alabama Crimson Tide transfer Miles Kitselman and Notre Dame Fighting Irish transfer Holden Staes. They also return Ethan Davis and Emmanuel Okoye. Davis has the most potential, but there will be two spots open, and all of them will compete in spring ball.

3. Left guard

Cooper Mays, Javontez Spraggins and John Campbell Jr. are all back up front. Lance Heard has been added from the LSU Tigers. The only question remaining for Tennessee Football is at left guard. Andrej Karic should have that spot, but he struggled so severely last year that he should have to earn it in spring and fall practices.

2. Wide receiver

Although this unit should be a strength for Tennessee Football, the Vols are wide open because of the new talent they have. Bru McCoy and Dont’e Thornton return from injury, they add freshmen Mike Matthews and Braylon Staley, and they picked up transfer Chris Brazzell III. Add in the return of Squirrel White, Chas Nimrod and Kaleb Webb and they could be loaded this spring.

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1. Secondary

Literally everybody is gone. The Vols lost seven defensive backs to transfer and three more to graduation. They added three transfers in Jakobe Thomas, Jermod McCoy and Jalen McMurray, and they also bring in highly touted recruit Boo Carter. Jourdan Thomas, Andre Turrentine, Rickey Gibson III and Jordan Matthews give Heupel options, but this whole unit is open.

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