Derek Dooley’s two seasons on The Hill have been filled with struggles. Not everything has been Dooley’s fault though.
Programs that change coaches often experience roster attrition. Programs that change coaches twice in as many years, the attrition multiplies. The Tennessee program falls in the latter category.
Underclassmen have played a vital role over the last two seasons within the program. The Vols have heavily relied upon newcomers to carry much of the load.
In 2011 alone, DeAnthony Arnett, Alex Bullard, Cameron Clear, Justin Coleman, Maurice Couch, Brendan Downs, Marcus Jackson, A.J. Johnson, Izauea Lanier, Curt Maggitt, Byron Moore, Brian Randolph, Justin Worley, and Devrin Young all started at least one game in their first season in Knoxville. Two others, Vincent Dallas and Marlin Lane, didn’t start a game but played a significant amount.
For the first time, Derek Dooley has some depth built up in the Tennessee program. In turn, newcomers won’t be relied upon quite as heavily in 2012. However, even with depth, there will be newcomers who make an impact this fall.
Here are five newcomers ready to contribute in 2012.