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Tennessee DBs poised for breakout season

Photo | USA Today
Bryce Thompson in Neyland Stadium

By: Matthew Whalen

The All Vol Call in Show

August 14, 2019

As Tennessee approaches its opening game against Georgia State, there are a multitude of questions surrounding the team and their readiness. However, the secondary is one of the position groups that seems to be prepared.

Tennessee has quite a bit of talent on the defensive side of the ball, especially at defensive back. Jeremy Pruitt made his name by developing defensive backs. There is no reason that should be any different at Tennessee.

There is a lot for Pruitt and staff to work with here. The Vols have corners that are young, but experienced, senior leadership at safety and play makers on either side of the field to alleviate an overload situation.

Bryce Thompson and Alontae Taylor had the bulk of the success at corner last season, and ended with Thompson being named a Freshman All-American and leading the team with 3 interceptions.

The duo came to Tennessee expecting to play different positions, but quickly bought into what Pruitt asked them to do. Under Pruitt’s guidance, the two have become one of the best cornerback duos in the SEC.

Nigel Warrior has the flexibility to play multiple positions and will see time at strong safety and the star position this season. When Warrior is in the star, look for Theo Jackson to play the vacant safety position. The free safety position will likely be Trevon Flowers.

Flowers was playing well last season before his injury. Upon returning, he wasn’t quite the same. Look for him to bounce back this season.

There has been a lot of talk from the Vols’ fall camp about newcomers to this secondary. Players like Warren Burrell and Jaylen McCollough are pushing older players for playing time. Burrell is in a position to be the nickel corner, and McCollough seems to be the backup to Flowers.

No matter which way you look at it, the Volunteers secondary seems poised for an increase in efficiency. In Pruitt’s second season, a lot remains to be proven. Expect the Volunteer’s secondary to be the voice of this young defense.


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