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Justin Worley, QB: After being named as the Gatorade High School Player of the Year in 2010, Worley has waited patiently behind Tyler Bray as the backup quarterback. He has played nine games in reserve, throwing just one touchdown.
But Worley has already played Alabama twice along with South Carolina, Arkansas and Vanderbilt. As the only non-freshman, he's going to be counted to no only win the quarterback job decisively, but to also lead from the position.
Antonio Richardson, LT: Built like an oak tree, Richardson has garnered All-America and All-SEC from Sports Illustrated, Athlon Sports, PhilSteele.com and the SEC media. He's been named to the Awards Watch Lists for both the Lombardi Trophy,given to the best lineman or linebacker, and Outland Trophy for the best interior lineman.
Richardson is projected to go No. 14 overall in the 2014 NFL draft by Walter Football.
Daniel McCullers, DT: After "slimming down" to 350 pounds, McCullers is expected to play a major role in the 2013 defense. He's been honored by Athlon Sports and PhilSteele.com as an All-SEC defenseman and was named to the award watch list for the Bednarik Trophy (best defensive player).
A.J. Johnson, LB: Butch Jones has been very demanding of his inside linebacker in the preseason, even demoting him to second team for a period of time. Clearly, he sees a lot in the junior.
Like McCullers, Johnson was named to the award watch list for the Bednarik Trophy. He received All-America and All-SEC honors from Sporting News, Athlon Sports, PhilSteele.com and Lindyssports.com. Walter Football projects him to go in the first round of the 2014 NFL draft.
Marquez North, WR: Receiving the commitment of 4-star wide receiver North turned Jones' first signing class from average to good. At 6'4", 215 pounds, the North Carolina native comes into Knoxville as physically ready as any receiver on the team.
A strong beginning to the season could mean big minutes during the SEC-loaded October stretch for North.
Corey Vereen, LB/DE: Vereen was undoubtedly the MVP of the Orange and White Game in April. His combination of speed and emotional drive has been praised by coaches and emulated by fellow teammates.
As an early enrollee, Vereen spent the entire spring battling for a starting spot on the 2013 defense at age 17.