A year ago, a Tennessee football team rife with seniors struggled to finish 5-7, and those seniors closed their careers with a third bowl-less season. Talent gaps glared at positions all over the field.
Many of those needs have been addressed by coach Butch Jones through recruiting, but you rarely fix flaws with freshmen. Instead, Jones' 32-player recruiting class has to be the first step on the path to progression.
There are still plenty of questions across the roster, and answers have to be found in first-year players. Others who've barely played key roles on Rocky Top now must become leaders.
"We had to be extremely careful this past year in trying to fix all our ills, all our deficiencies in one recruiting class," Jones told Bleacher Report in an exclusive interview earlier this spring. "We're not going to be able to do that. It takes time to develop that.
"The only way you can address that is develop your current players and keep recruiting. We have needs across the board at every single position in this (2015) class still."
There will be fewer younger teams across the nation than UT. Even the perceived positions of strength hinge on hope.
Let's look at the Volunteers position-by-position and break down where Jones will have to lean for production and the areas where smoke and mirrors may be his two biggest weapons.
The rankings are based on observing the star talent each position unit has as well as depth and overall potential of the group.