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Like the aforementioned Smith, Antonio “Tiny” Richardson came to Knoxville widely regarded as the top high school player in Tennessee. His ability to make an impact in 2011 was greatly limited, however, due to the majority of the Vols’ offensive line returning.
Richardson is as unmistakable as any player on the Vols’ roster. The official Tennessee roster lists him at 6'6", and 329 pounds. It’s easy to understand why any quarterback would love to have “Tiny” protecting his backside.
The entire offensive line returns in 2012 as well, but the opportunity is there for Richardson to unseat a returning starter. This spring, the mammoth offensive lineman has been working with the first team at left tackle, a spot formerly occupied by Dallas Thomas.
It’s not all bad news, though, for Thomas, who has moved inside and is fighting for a starting position at left guard.
Tennessee’s offensive line will be expected to improve drastically in 2012, and Richardson anchoring the left side could pay huge dividends.