Tennessee Football: Predicting the Depth Chart Heading into Fall Camp

Randy ChambersAnalyst IAugust 1, 2012

Tennessee Football: Predicting the Depth Chart Heading into Fall Camp

0 of 8

    The last time the Tennessee Volunteers won double-digit games or reached a bowl game was in 2007, when Phillip Fulmer was still coaching the team. Since then, nothing has come easily for this program, as it seems they have quickly become one of the laughing stocks of the SEC.

    This season, all of that can change, as Tennessee returns 18 starters, including 10 on the offensive side of the ball. The Volunteers are also getting back several players from injury and have a solid recruiting class coming in as well.

    This team may be young, but it has some of the most talent of any other football team in the country.

    As we quickly approach fall camp and the regular season, here is what the 2012 Tennessee Volunteers depth chart should look like.

Quarterback

1 of 8

    Starter: Tyler Bray, Junior

    Backup: Justin Worley, Sophomore

    Bray has been a decent quarterback the past two seasons for the Volunteers, but with the talent around him, he should take a couple steps forward in 2012.

    This is Bray's third season at Tennessee. Big things are expected from the quarterback, and he has the potential to become one of the better players in the SEC at his position.

Running Back

2 of 8

    Starter: Marlin Lane, Sophomore

    Backup: Rajion Neal, Junior

    Tennessee was terrible at running the football last year, which will obviously have to improve for this team to experience more success. Lane will be the starting running back once again in 2012, after averaging less than four yards a carry last season. He is still a versatile runner, and he did show a little bit of what he was capable of last season.

    Expect a bigger year this time around.

Receivers

3 of 8

    Starter: Da’Rick Rogers, Junior

    Backup: Zach Rogers, Senior

    Rogers led the team in receiving last year with 67 receptions for over 1,000 yards and nine touchdowns. At 6'3" and with the speed he possesses, Rogers should be considered one of the best receivers in the entire country.

     

    Starter: Justin Hunter, Junior

    Backup: Vincent Dallas, Sophomore

    Speaking of top receivers, Hunter has all of the potential in the world. He is coming off of a season-ending injury, but he will likely be ready by the time the season begins.

    At 6'4", Hunter is easily one of the most gifted receivers in college football. In just two-and-a-half games last year, he caught 17 passes for 314 yards and two touchdowns.

     

    Starter: Mychal Rivera, Senior

    Backup: Cameron Clear, Sophomore 

    Rivera adds some experience to this young team and is another big target at 6'3", 245 pounds. He caught 29 passes last season for 344 yards.

Offensive Line

4 of 8

    Left Tackle

    Starter: Antonio Richardson, Sophomore

    Backup: Kyler Kerbyson, Freshman

    Richardson played in 12 games last season, but he doesn't have any starts under his belt. Still, the former 4-star recruit will be expected to protect Bray's blindside this season.

     

    Left Guard

    Starter: Dallas Thomas, Senior

    Backup: Marcus Jackson, Sophomore

    Thomas is one of the more experienced linemen the Volunteers have, as he has started the last 25 games of his career. He is used to playing the left tackle position, but with the confidence they have in Richardson, Thomas will be able to slide over.

     

    Center

    Starter: Alex Bullard, Junior

    Backup: Mack Crowder, Freshman

    Bullard is a versatile lineman who played six games at left guard last season and six at center. Expect him to remain in the middle of this offensive line.

     

    Right Guard

    Starter: Zach Fulton, Junior

    Backup: James Stone, Junior

    Fulton has started the last 15 games at the right guard position for the Volunteers.

     

    Right Tackle

    Starter: Ja’Wuan James, Junior

    Backup: Alan Posey, Freshman

    James has started all 25 games of his career at the right tackle position and is a preseason All-SEC member.

Defensive Line

5 of 8

    Starter: Marlon Walls, Junior

    Backup: Trevarris Saulsberry, Freshman

    Walls started four games on the defensive line last season, producing 22 tackles and a sack.

     

    Starter: Steven Fowlkes, Senior

    Backup: Darrington Sentimore, Junior

    Fowlkes is a fifth-year senior who missed the entire 2011 season due to injury. The good news is that he is healthy, had a great spring and will likely earn his way into a starting role.

     

    Starter: Maurice Couch, Junior

    Backup: Daniel Hood, Junior

    Couch was a junior college transfer. He started four games on this defensive line, finishing with 37 tackles, nine tackles for loss and two sacks.

Linebackers

6 of 8

    Starter: Jacques Smith, Junior

    Backup: Jordan Williams, Sophomore

    Smith started eight games last season on the defensive line, but with Tennessee switching to a 3-4 defense, he will become the outside linebacker. Smith finished with 35 tackles last season and has added weight during the offseason for the new position.

     

    Starter: Curt Maggitt, Sophomore

    Backup: Willie Bohannon, Senior

    Maggitt has a bright future in Tennessee, starting eight games last year as a true freshman. He finished the year with 56 tackles, one interception and a forced fumble.

     

    Starter: Herman Lathers, Senior

    Backup: Christian Harris, Freshman

    Lathers missed all of last season with an ankle injury, but in 2010, he finished second on the team with 75 tackles. Tennessee can also use his experience at the linebacker position and certainly his leadership.

     

    Starter: A.J. Johnson, Sophomore 

    Backup: Channing Fugate, Junior

    Johnson led the team in tackles last season with 81 and was a SEC All-Freshman team selection.

Defensive Backs

7 of 8

    Cornerback

    Starter: Justin Coleman, Sophomore

    Backup: Eric Gordon, Junior

    Coleman started four games last year as a true freshman and broke up two passes. He has a great combination of size and speed to become a solid corner in this league.

     

    Safety

    Starter: Byron Moore, Junior

    Backup: Brent Brewer, Junior

    Moore was a junior college transfer last season, and he started only two games. Expect his role to increase due to his instincts on the field and ridiculous upside.

     

    Safety

    Starter: Brian Randolph, Sophomore

    Backup: Rod Wilks, Senior

    Randolph started eight games last season and finished fifth on the team with 55 tackles. He was also a 2011 Yahoo! Sports Second-Team Freshman All-American

     

    Cornerback

    Starter: Prentiss Waggner, Senior

    Backup: Deion Bonner, Freshman

    Waggner has started the last 25 games at cornerback and has over 100 tackles and seven interceptions to his credit. He is the leader of the defensive backfield and is considered a top-60 player in the SEC, according to Bleacher Report's lead SEC writer, Barrett Sallee.

Specialists

8 of 8

    Kicker

    Starter: Michael Palardy, Junior

    Backup: Derrick Brodus, Sophomore

    Palardy made nine of his 14 attempts last season, but he will have to battle walk-on kicker Brodus for the starting position.

     

    Punter

    Starter: Matt Darr, Sophomore

    Backup: Michael Palardy, Junior

    Much like the kicking position, the punter will remain up in the air as well. Darr punted the ball 40 times last season, averaging 38.1 yards, while Palardy kicked the ball 14 times, resulting in a 36.7 yards per attempt average.