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The 10 Biggest Offseason Questions

Darrin Kirkland Jr-13. Who replaces A.J. Johnson at inside linebacker?

The Vols got an unwanted head start on answering this question when Johnson was suspended prior to the Missouri game and did not return the ret of the year amidst a legal investigation. The original answer was Jakob Johnson, who will be heading into his sophomore year in 2015. He did some good things, but struggled at times, leading to now redshirt junior Kenny Bynum getting an opportunity to play some against Vanderbilt and to start the TaxSlayer Bowl in his hometown of Jacksonville. Those two will both certainly be in the mix. As will redshirt freshman Gavin Bryant, who didn’t play in 2014. But watch out for freshman and early enrollee Darrin Kirkland Jr., one of the top-rated ILBs in the nation, and a guy who could come in and have an immediate say in the competition. Moving more of an outside linebacker like Dillon Bates inside is an option as well. There will be plenty of choices – it’ll just be a matter of if somebody can step up and lock the job down.

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