We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“How many, and which, players will go pro after this season and which round will they be drafted (if at all)?” – Jeff
Nathanael: Are you talking going pro early or seniors too? Because if you’re just talking guys who could declare early, then I think that list is very, very small. I suppose players like Kongbo, Jennings, Kelly, or Gaulden could declare early, but the only player I see as a legitimate threat to declare early is Darrin Kirkland Jr. right now. I would say Jennings is the second-most likely, especially if he has a very strong year much like Josh Malone did last season.
Will: I don’t think it’s going to be a very large group this time around. Jennings needs to show me a lot to prove he’s ready for the the NFL. Darrin Kirkland Jr. would have to first, stay healthy, and also increase his production from last year. The player who may have a small shot is Kongbo. If he plays up to his potential, he can be one of the SEC’s best pass rushers. But I think it’s fair to say that the Vols won’t lose any juniors to the draft.
“Who seems to be ahead in the QB competition right now. I don’t think anybody is a fan of a 2 QB system. Has never worked.” – Devin
Nathanael: Right now, if I had to pick I would say Dormady is the leader. I do still think we see a two-quarterback system once the season starts, and that will especially be the case against Indiana State in the second game of the season. At this point, I would be more surprised if Tennessee didn’t do some type of dual-quarterback system than if they did.
Will: Quinten Dormady is going to take the first snap against Georgia Tech. It would shock me if Jarrett Guarantano won the job simply based off practice reps. The only reason we’re talking about a two quarterback system is because Guarantano needs live reps. That is his only chance to win the job, because he can’t just win it in practice without seeing the field in an actual game.
“How bad does a negative fan base towards the head coach affect recruiting?” – Channing
Nathanael: I don’t think it affects it nearly as much as some would let on. It can, yeah, but I think it’s overblown just how much social media affects recruiting. Maybe I’m wrong, though.
Will: It is very minimal at best. Fans love to think that they make a bigger impact than they really do. At the end of the day, recruits don’t pay much attention to the outside noise. Sure, they love attention. But it doesn’t make or break their college decision.
“What jerseys are we wearing for the GT game?” -John
Nathanael: I would imagine it would be a traditional home or road jersey depending on which team they announce as the home and visiting teams. There won’t be any Smokey Gray uniforms if that’s what you’re asking.
Will: Traditional home orange.
“What should I name my fantasy football team?” – Andrew
Nathanael: Well, there are a ton of good Vol options out there for you if you want to go that route. Personally, I wouldn’t use “Five Star Hearts” or “Champions of Life” because those phrases are so overused at this point. Why not something like “Peyton’s Forehead” or something to do with Phillip Fulmer that somehow includes the word “heavy” in it?
Will: The champions of life quote is dead. In fact, it’s been butchered with an axe. So don’t go anywhere near that. Please.
I’d incorporate one of Tennessee’s new rookies. Something like the “Chevy Kamaras.” Or just name your team the “Astrodobbs” with a picture as Josh Dobbs in a spacesuit as your logo.