Last season, Butch Jones had an easy decision to make when it came to choosing which players would represent Tennessee at SEC Media Days. With so many returning senior starters, choosing quarterback Josh Dobbs, linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and cornerback Cam Sutton was a no-brainer.
Now with no proven quarterback and fewer returning veterans with significant roles on the roster, Jones had a much more difficult decision to make this year. And his choices weren’t the most obvious ones.
Tennessee announced today that a trio of seniors would be representing them at SEC Media Days this year. That itself isn’t a surprise, but a couple of the choices might be. The three seniors accompanying Jones for SEC Media Days are offensive lineman Jashon Robertson, defensive lineman Kendall Vickers, and cornerback Emmanuel Moseley.
Robertson is easily a no-brainer just like the three choices last season. Robertson has started 34 of a possible 39 games in his three years at Tennessee, and he’s expected to be one of the leaders on Tennessee’s offense this year. Tennessee’s other two selections, however, are a little surprising at first glance.
Kendall Vickers is undoubtedly one of the most veteran players on the team, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Vickers has made 25 starts the last two seasons and figures to be a full-time starter as a senior this year as well. Selecting him isn’t exactly a shock, but it’s likely not someone Vol fans expected.
Emmanuel Moseley, however, is the most interesting choice of the group.
Moseley’s career has been up and down at Tennessee. When he’s at his best, he’s been solid. But when Moseley’s play dips, it’s been very noticeable and has led to some big plays given up in the pass game. Moseley is by no means a bad player and is always spoken well of by his teammates and coaches. But his selection as a representative at SEC Media Days was a tad surprising given who else could’ve been chosen.
Someone like Todd Kelly Jr. seems like a more obvious choice. At least, from the outside looking in. Kelly has been a vocal leader for the Vols for years and is one of the more well-known Vols even outside of the Tennessee fanbase.
Even another offensive lineman like Knoxville’s own Brett Kendrick, who enters his redshirt senior year with 19 career starts to his name, would make sense. Senior tight end Ethan Wolf, who has 34 career starts in his three years with the Vols, would also make sense from an outsider’s perspective.
All of this, of course, is just from the outside looking in. Jones obviously believes these three players embody what the 2017 Vols are about, and he wouldn’t take someone who wasn’t a leader and a model of the team. These three players are all seniors with respect from their teammates and coaches. But the choices outside of Robertson are still a mild surprise.
The Vols will take the stage at SEC Media Days on Monday, July 10th. Butch Jones and the three selected players will speak with the media gathered in Birmingham on that day.