The Tennessee Volunteers' 2014 schedule is widely regarded as one of the toughest in the nation. A big part of that is due to the extremely skilled players the team will match up against each week.
In fact, many of the opponents the Vols face this upcoming season have rosters loaded on both sides of the ball with All-SEC, All-American and even Heisman Trophy candidates.
Since Cordarrelle Patterson and Justin Hunter left for the NFL in 2012, Tennessee hasn't truly established any elite athletes on either offense or defense, although players like Marquez North, Cameron Sutton and A.J. Johnson could achieve that status with solid play this season.
In order to compete throughout the team's gauntlet of a schedule, the Vols need more exceptional playmakers of their own to emerge to offset the big plays generated by opposing superstar athletes.
Here are the top five toughest players Tennessee's offense and defense will face during the 2014 season.