10. Veteran presence on defense
While a lot of the talk this offseason has been about the addition of players like Kahlil McKenzie, Shy Tuttle, Justin Martin, Darrin Kirkland Jr and Kyle Phillips, don’t forget the Vols have several foundational pieces on defense that will play a huge role next season.
In addition to players already mentioned such as Sutton and Maggitt, players like Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Brian Randolph and LaDarrell McNeil have been through the SEC battles multiple times and know how to lead. Their role in getting the defense set and adjusted can’t be overlooked either.
The Vols may still be a year away from being a “veteran team,” but it’s getting to the point at several positions where there are multi-year starters who are stepping up, taking ownership of a spot and helping develop the next generation as well.