Early enrollees Shanon Reid, Will McBride and Deandre Johnson have some big shoes to fill in their first season at Tennessee.
But they aren’t worried.
With Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Joshua Dobbs and Derek Barnett departing the Tennessee football program, the three freshmen are eager to get their shot at filling some awfully big shoes.
“Anywhere you go you’re going to have to compete for the job,” McBride said. “Nothing’s going to be given to you. Here it’s open, obviously Dobbs is leaving. They’re going to play the best guy, whether that’s me or the other three guys.”
McBride, a 3-star prospect from Texas is rated as the No. 28 dual-threat QB in the 2017 class according to 247sports.com. He says that he’s ready to showcase his athleticism and versatility in the months leading up to his first season.
“Being able to compete early is a great opportunity and it teaches you a lot. I just want to be a dynamic player because I think I can use my legs and my arm efficiently. I think it’s going to be good for all of us. I think they’re getting a dynamic player that can do a lot of things.”
Deandre Johnson joins a defensive line room that’s losing the school’s all-time sack leader.
But the Miami, Florida native isn’t shying away from Derek Barnett level expectations.
“It’s big shoes to fill, and something that’s going to be very hard to get, but it’s also motivation,” Johnson said. “I have to work hard, I have to study and I have to put in extra hours to hopefully break that record if I can. It just motivates me to work harder and just be better. I’m here to be great.”
Fellow Florida native Shanon Reid’s biggest adjustment to college so far has been the weather.
“It’s crazy. Just seeing snow for the first time, that was beautiful. It’s a big change from where I’m from in Florida.”
Reid will wear No. 21 for the Vols, once held by Jalen Reeves-Maybin. But like his fellow newcomers, he doesn’t feel any pressure filling in those big shoes.
“Not much pressure, I just know that I can do the same things he’s done even though he’s great. I look up to him. And I know I have high expectations,” Reid said. “The group of guys that’s been wearing No. 21, not just here but in the NFL, I know I have to show out with that number.”