2020 Spring Position Preview: Defensive Backs

#1

VolsnRavens

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#1
It's that time again, March is but days away, and the sweet smell of spring practice will soon be in there air. So let's put away those zany off season threads, it's time for position previews to start pouring in. Go Vols in 2020!!


2020 Spring Position Preview: Defensive Backs | Rocky Top Insider


From the article:

Seniors: Baylen Buchanan (RS), Kenneth George Jr. (RS), Theo Jackson, Shawn Shamburger

Juniors: Trevon Flowers, Cheyenne Labruzza (RS), Alontae Taylor, Bryce Thompson

Sophomores: Aaron Beasley, Warren Burrell, Brandon Davis (RS), Jaylen McCollough, Kenney Solomon

"Tennessee loses All-SEC safety Nigel Warrior from their secondary after the 2019 season, but they return every other major contributor in the defensive backfield heading into spring practices."

The Vols’ secondary will receive even more competition in the summer and fall when 2020 signees Keshawn Lawrence, Doneiko Slaughter, and Tamarion McDonald all arrive on campus. Lawrence and Slaughter in particular could provide a challenge to UT’s upperclassmen for starting jobs."

At safety, both starting jobs are likely up for grabs this spring and fall. Theo Jackson, Trevon Flowers, and Jaylen McCollough all started alongside Warrior in 2019, but none of them were able to hold on to the starting job completely for one reason or another. For Flowers, it was another injury that cut his season short. Just like his freshman year, Flowers suffered a significant injury that deprived him of valuable playing time. When Flowers has been healthy, he’s been effective, totaling 26 tackles, an interception, and two passes defended in 13 games.

Unfortunately for Flowers, he’s not been able to play a full season. But if he’s fully healthy in the spring, he has an opportunity to stand out.

Jackson was a solid contributor, but he wasn’t exactly flashy and had some consistency issues. Jaylen McCollough came on strong to close out the year as a freshman, and he’ll be one of the more intriguing players to keep an eye on this spring. He has all the tools to succeed as a run-stopping safety, and he has a knack for making plays as a pass defender, too.

Tyus Fields will likely compete at safety as well, and Brandon Davis should also be in the mix. If he remains in the secondary, Aaron Beasley will also get a shot. But Beasley practiced a lot at linebacker during the season because of UT’s lack of numbers there, so it remains to be seen if he’ll stay there or move back to the defensive backfield. Kwauze Garland, who was awarded a scholarship late in the 2019 season, could receive time at either safety or STAR.

Speaking of the STAR and nickel spot, that’s Shawn Shamburger’s job to lose. Shamburger was quietly one of the Vols’ most effective defensive backs last season, especially as a blizter. Shamburger totaled three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, as well as an interception and three passes defended in 13 games and 12 starts.

Barring injury or some unforeseen circumstance, Shamburger will be the main STAR/nickel player again for the Vols. But he should still have some competition this spring.

Baylen Buchanan missed all of last season as he dealt with a spinal issue that threatened to end his playing career. Though nothing has been confirmed by Tennessee, Buchanan’s posts on social media seem to indicate that he’ll be ready to give practice a try this spring. If he can go, he’ll give Shamburger some competition and could be a nice veteran backup option. Tyus Fields could also play at STAR, as could Cheyenne Labruzza.

On the outside, both Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson are penciled in as Tennessee’s starting corners. Taylor struggled at times in 2019, and Warren Burrell pushed him even once Bryce Thompson returned from suspension. But Burrell faded down the stretch, and Taylor started playing better later in the year. Still, Burrell will be a player to watch this spring, and rising redshirt senior Kenneth George Jr. should make some noise, too. George rather quietly produced at a solid level for UT last season, appearing in all 13 games and making six starts. He made 19 tackles, an interception, and three pass breakups.

Kenney Solomon — who was also rewarded a scholarship late in the 2019 season — has a lot of speed and height, but he still needs to put on some weight. If he can make a big leap from his first year to his second, he could be a surprise this spring.

All in all, Tennessee’s group of defensive backs should be a strength for the Vols on defense. The secondary returns a lot of experience, and they’re battled tested over the last few years. The younger players have a lot of upside as well, and there’s a unique blend of athletes in this group heading into the spring.
 
#4

Titan&Volfan4life

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#4
Steel sharpens steel and Pruitt and staff have brought in some serious players to add solid competition all over our roster.

I'm amazed at how fast our roster has improved.

Solid recruiting is already starting to payoff and Pruitt and staff are just beginning.

Onwards and upwards we go and I love it!

VFL...GBO!!!
 
#5

butchna

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#5
It's that time again, March is but days away, and the sweet smell of spring practice will soon be in there air. So let's put away those zany off season threads, it's time for position previews to start pouring in. Go Vols in 2020!!


2020 Spring Position Preview: Defensive Backs | Rocky Top Insider


From the article:

Seniors: Baylen Buchanan (RS), Kenneth George Jr. (RS), Theo Jackson, Shawn Shamburger

Juniors: Trevon Flowers, Cheyenne Labruzza (RS), Alontae Taylor, Bryce Thompson

Sophomores: Aaron Beasley, Warren Burrell, Brandon Davis (RS), Jaylen McCollough, Kenney Solomon

"Tennessee loses All-SEC safety Nigel Warrior from their secondary after the 2019 season, but they return every other major contributor in the defensive backfield heading into spring practices."

The Vols’ secondary will receive even more competition in the summer and fall when 2020 signees Keshawn Lawrence, Doneiko Slaughter, and Tamarion McDonald all arrive on campus. Lawrence and Slaughter in particular could provide a challenge to UT’s upperclassmen for starting jobs."

At safety, both starting jobs are likely up for grabs this spring and fall. Theo Jackson, Trevon Flowers, and Jaylen McCollough all started alongside Warrior in 2019, but none of them were able to hold on to the starting job completely for one reason or another. For Flowers, it was another injury that cut his season short. Just like his freshman year, Flowers suffered a significant injury that deprived him of valuable playing time. When Flowers has been healthy, he’s been effective, totaling 26 tackles, an interception, and two passes defended in 13 games.

Unfortunately for Flowers, he’s not been able to play a full season. But if he’s fully healthy in the spring, he has an opportunity to stand out.

Jackson was a solid contributor, but he wasn’t exactly flashy and had some consistency issues. Jaylen McCollough came on strong to close out the year as a freshman, and he’ll be one of the more intriguing players to keep an eye on this spring. He has all the tools to succeed as a run-stopping safety, and he has a knack for making plays as a pass defender, too.

Tyus Fields will likely compete at safety as well, and Brandon Davis should also be in the mix. If he remains in the secondary, Aaron Beasley will also get a shot. But Beasley practiced a lot at linebacker during the season because of UT’s lack of numbers there, so it remains to be seen if he’ll stay there or move back to the defensive backfield. Kwauze Garland, who was awarded a scholarship late in the 2019 season, could receive time at either safety or STAR.

Speaking of the STAR and nickel spot, that’s Shawn Shamburger’s job to lose. Shamburger was quietly one of the Vols’ most effective defensive backs last season, especially as a blizter. Shamburger totaled three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, as well as an interception and three passes defended in 13 games and 12 starts.

Barring injury or some unforeseen circumstance, Shamburger will be the main STAR/nickel player again for the Vols. But he should still have some competition this spring.

Baylen Buchanan missed all of last season as he dealt with a spinal issue that threatened to end his playing career. Though nothing has been confirmed by Tennessee, Buchanan’s posts on social media seem to indicate that he’ll be ready to give practice a try this spring. If he can go, he’ll give Shamburger some competition and could be a nice veteran backup option. Tyus Fields could also play at STAR, as could Cheyenne Labruzza.

On the outside, both Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson are penciled in as Tennessee’s starting corners. Taylor struggled at times in 2019, and Warren Burrell pushed him even once Bryce Thompson returned from suspension. But Burrell faded down the stretch, and Taylor started playing better later in the year. Still, Burrell will be a player to watch this spring, and rising redshirt senior Kenneth George Jr. should make some noise, too. George rather quietly produced at a solid level for UT last season, appearing in all 13 games and making six starts. He made 19 tackles, an interception, and three pass breakups.

Kenney Solomon — who was also rewarded a scholarship late in the 2019 season — has a lot of speed and height, but he still needs to put on some weight. If he can make a big leap from his first year to his second, he could be a surprise this spring.

All in all, Tennessee’s group of defensive backs should be a strength for the Vols on defense. The secondary returns a lot of experience, and they’re battled tested over the last few years. The younger players have a lot of upside as well, and there’s a unique blend of athletes in this group heading into the spring.
Prolly don’t have enough depth, but I would love for Solomon to redshirt and pack on some bulk.
 
#6

Tennesseefan2019

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#6
It's that time again, March is but days away, and the sweet smell of spring practice will soon be in there air. So let's put away those zany off season threads, it's time for position previews to start pouring in. Go Vols in 2020!!


2020 Spring Position Preview: Defensive Backs | Rocky Top Insider


From the article:

Seniors: Baylen Buchanan (RS), Kenneth George Jr. (RS), Theo Jackson, Shawn Shamburger

Juniors: Trevon Flowers, Cheyenne Labruzza (RS), Alontae Taylor, Bryce Thompson

Sophomores: Aaron Beasley, Warren Burrell, Brandon Davis (RS), Jaylen McCollough, Kenney Solomon

"Tennessee loses All-SEC safety Nigel Warrior from their secondary after the 2019 season, but they return every other major contributor in the defensive backfield heading into spring practices."

The Vols’ secondary will receive even more competition in the summer and fall when 2020 signees Keshawn Lawrence, Doneiko Slaughter, and Tamarion McDonald all arrive on campus. Lawrence and Slaughter in particular could provide a challenge to UT’s upperclassmen for starting jobs."

At safety, both starting jobs are likely up for grabs this spring and fall. Theo Jackson, Trevon Flowers, and Jaylen McCollough all started alongside Warrior in 2019, but none of them were able to hold on to the starting job completely for one reason or another. For Flowers, it was another injury that cut his season short. Just like his freshman year, Flowers suffered a significant injury that deprived him of valuable playing time. When Flowers has been healthy, he’s been effective, totaling 26 tackles, an interception, and two passes defended in 13 games.

Unfortunately for Flowers, he’s not been able to play a full season. But if he’s fully healthy in the spring, he has an opportunity to stand out.

Jackson was a solid contributor, but he wasn’t exactly flashy and had some consistency issues. Jaylen McCollough came on strong to close out the year as a freshman, and he’ll be one of the more intriguing players to keep an eye on this spring. He has all the tools to succeed as a run-stopping safety, and he has a knack for making plays as a pass defender, too.

Tyus Fields will likely compete at safety as well, and Brandon Davis should also be in the mix. If he remains in the secondary, Aaron Beasley will also get a shot. But Beasley practiced a lot at linebacker during the season because of UT’s lack of numbers there, so it remains to be seen if he’ll stay there or move back to the defensive backfield. Kwauze Garland, who was awarded a scholarship late in the 2019 season, could receive time at either safety or STAR.

Speaking of the STAR and nickel spot, that’s Shawn Shamburger’s job to lose. Shamburger was quietly one of the Vols’ most effective defensive backs last season, especially as a blizter. Shamburger totaled three sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, as well as an interception and three passes defended in 13 games and 12 starts.

Barring injury or some unforeseen circumstance, Shamburger will be the main STAR/nickel player again for the Vols. But he should still have some competition this spring.

Baylen Buchanan missed all of last season as he dealt with a spinal issue that threatened to end his playing career. Though nothing has been confirmed by Tennessee, Buchanan’s posts on social media seem to indicate that he’ll be ready to give practice a try this spring. If he can go, he’ll give Shamburger some competition and could be a nice veteran backup option. Tyus Fields could also play at STAR, as could Cheyenne Labruzza.

On the outside, both Alontae Taylor and Bryce Thompson are penciled in as Tennessee’s starting corners. Taylor struggled at times in 2019, and Warren Burrell pushed him even once Bryce Thompson returned from suspension. But Burrell faded down the stretch, and Taylor started playing better later in the year. Still, Burrell will be a player to watch this spring, and rising redshirt senior Kenneth George Jr. should make some noise, too. George rather quietly produced at a solid level for UT last season, appearing in all 13 games and making six starts. He made 19 tackles, an interception, and three pass breakups.

Kenney Solomon — who was also rewarded a scholarship late in the 2019 season — has a lot of speed and height, but he still needs to put on some weight. If he can make a big leap from his first year to his second, he could be a surprise this spring.

All in all, Tennessee’s group of defensive backs should be a strength for the Vols on defense. The secondary returns a lot of experience, and they’re battled tested over the last few years. The younger players have a lot of upside as well, and there’s a unique blend of athletes in this group heading into the spring.
I think Tyus Fields will have a very good season in 2020.
 
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#7

butchna

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#7
I think Slaughter will be in the mix as soon as he gets on campus. We need Taylor and Thompson to play at an all SEC level.
You can’t coach up that football smart savagery. All you can do is indentify, recruit and sign it...before turning it loose.
 
#8

barrylee

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#8
Didn't we find out Alontae had an undisclosed injury early on that led to some of his struggles? Or am I confusing him with someone else?
 
#13

RockyTopTexas

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#13
Pruitt plays the best. Did it at every stop. Playing your best whether freshman or fifth year senior is a necessity to winning.
The only players spot he would take is Alontes. And slaughter ain’t playing corner. Bryce lock.. Jaylen lock.. Trevon when healthy lock. Plus Theo Jackson We don’t suck anymore. We have the talent to develop on the practice field. The hype some people have for recruiting is like every freshman is gonna start. This will happen less and less the better we get and I know you know this. Slaughter is a great prospect but let’s slow it down a bit.
Also Key Law coming in as well have fun beating him out for playing time as a true freshman
 
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#14

JT3

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#14
Excited about this unit's contributions this season. They grew up a lot. Nervous about linebacker and dline, mainly dline
I would expect dline to be a strength this year with everyone coming back plus Gooden returning. I'm worried about our pass rushing OLBs and who will step up beside Henry T. Secondary should also be a strength.
 
#15

butchna

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The only players spot he would take is Alontes. And slaughter ain’t playing corner. Bryce lock.. Jaylen lock.. Trevon when healthy lock. Plus Theo Jackson We don’t suck anymore. We have the talent to develop on the practice field. The hype some people have for recruiting is like every freshman is gonna start. This will happen less and less the better we get and I know you know this. Slaughter is a great prospect but let’s slow it down a bit.
Also Key Law coming in as well have fun beating him out for playing time as a true freshman
There’s no “lock” to Trevon Flowers...healthy or no. That’s a wide open spot and Keyshawn is perfect for it. There will be an open competition. I don’t see Slaughter starting but he’ll get more and more snaps and it’ll be a wash imo. All health notwithstanding. The best programs have true freshmen starting for a reason...best programs play the best. Future seasons lead to future openings. This isn’t about “every freshman is going to start” it’s about not precluding the possibility over some faulty fantasy that we’re 3 deep...we ain’t.
 
#16

RockyTopTexas

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#16
There’s no “lock” to Trevon Flowers...healthy or no. That’s a wide open spot and Keyshawn is perfect for it. There will be an open competition. I don’t see Slaughter starting but he’ll get more and more snaps and it’ll be a wash imo. All health notwithstanding. The best programs have true freshmen starting for a reason...best programs play the best. Future seasons lead to future openings. This isn’t about “every freshman is going to start” it’s about not precluding the possibility over some faulty fantasy that we’re 3 deep...we ain’t.
We def aren’t 3 deep yet that’s for sure. Imo trevon is fantastic when healthy. I also agree with playing the best but we do not have anyone better that is a freshman currently.(Spring hasn’t even started yet so) As we recruit better these freshman that can “start” are going to be better so I’m not against that. I’m just against the “ starting true freshman” when it’s not a necessity anymore. Alonte is a perfect example. Started as a true freshman because of need. Now he’s getting shown up by other players
 
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#17

butchna

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#17
We def aren’t 3 deep yet that’s for sure. Imo trevon is fantastic when healthy. I also agree with playing the best but we do not have anyone better that is a freshman currently. As we recruit better these freshman that can “start” are going to be better so I’m not against that. I’m just against the “true freshman” when it’s not a necessity anymore. Alonte is a perfect example. Started as a true freshman because of need. Now he’s getting shown up by other players
No problem with that thinking, just not a fan of absolutist creeds. Technically Morris and Wright starting wasn’t based on NEED...we had experienced bodies at those spots. But that experience involved getting dominated. They had their difficulties but were the best players for their positions. Sounds funny recounting preseason last year with some of the posters declaring they would start off on the interior because they lacked the experience to play in the SEC. That’s why we recruited them. To replace what wasn’t working. I don’t see Taylor being replaced. In his 3rd season playing the position, with every other spot on the defense getting better within the scheme, I see the same for him. Freshmen who play this year will have earned it.
 
#18

RockyTopTexas

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#18
No problem with that thinking, just not a fan of absolutist creeds. Technically Morris and Wright starting wasn’t based on NEED...we had experienced bodies at those spots. But that experience involved getting dominated. They had their difficulties but were the best players for their positions. Sounds funny recounting preseason last year with some of the posters declaring they would start off on the interior because they lacked the experience to play in the SEC. That’s why we recruited them. To replace what wasn’t working. I don’t see Taylor being replaced. In his 3rd season playing the position, with every other spot on the defense getting better within the scheme, I see the same for him. Freshmen who play this year will have earned it.
Morris and Wright were Day 1s for sure with the play of our Oline the past few seasons but it wasn’t a need I absolutely agree there. They got they experience they needed. I thought it was interesting watching alonte as the season went on. It seemed Pruitt started plugging in other guys after the BYU game and on. His spot should be interesting to watch this season
 
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#19

butchna

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#19
Morris and Wright were Day 1s for sure with the play of our Oline the past few seasons but it wasn’t a need I absolutely agree there. They got they experience they needed. I thought it was interesting watching alonte as the season went on. It seemed Pruitt started plugging in other guys after the BYU game and on. His spot should be interesting to watch this season
Even though he’s not fluid after his backpedal, I think most of his issues were mental. At some point trust your teaching and developed instincts...he’s got too much DB sensa braintrust in Ansley and Pruitt to excuse those relapses. Hoping Solomon is able to redshirt, because with his measureables and skillset I think he’s going to be very significant in the next couple of years.
 
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#20

RockyTopTexas

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#20
Even though he’s not fluid after his backpedal, I think most of his issues were mental. At some point trust your teaching and developed instincts...he’s got too much DB sensa braintrust in Ansley and Pruitt to excuse those relapses. Hoping Solomon is able to redshirt, because with his measureables and skillset I think he’s going to be very significant in the next couple of years.
It’s going to become our bread and butter position group under Pruitt if it isn’t already. The competition for those future starting spots is going to be fun man that’s for sure.. Solomon so fast!
Side bar I also see jimmy Calloway moving to the defensive side of the ball. He’s fast and long instinctive but he may be too much to miss as a wr
 
#21

tennesseepride84

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#21
Its just nice to have all these talented options... Who starts, who sits, or who contributes rather there seniors or freshman... The talent has upgraded so much so that it is a nice problem to have. With that being said i believe the season starts with the same group that ended the season minus warrior (obviously) but as the season unfolds the true starters will manifest
 
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#23

RockyTopTexas

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#23
This is a really good group. One of the things I noticed later last season is how well the DB's started getting off blocks and making solid tackles. Taylor and Shamburger in particular.
Sham always has and always will be underrated here..
Still has some of the best HS CB tape I’ve seen
 
#25

PulaskiVolFan

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#25
The only players spot he would take is Alontes. And slaughter ain’t playing corner. Bryce lock.. Jaylen lock.. Trevon when healthy lock. Plus Theo Jackson We don’t suck anymore. We have the talent to develop on the practice field. The hype some people have for recruiting is like every freshman is gonna start. This will happen less and less the better we get and I know you know this. Slaughter is a great prospect but let’s slow it down a bit.
Also Key Law coming in as well have fun beating him out for playing time as a true freshman
Alontae Taylor is the closest thing to a lock at a starting position as it gets. Not sure why fans think he's a weak link as he's one of the best players on the team.
 
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