Tennessee is already without starting inside linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. for the entire 2017 season. Now they may be down another linebacker when they take on Georgia Tech for their season opener on Monday, September 4th.
According to a report from 247Sports, Tennessee linebacker Austin Smith suffered a knee injury during practice late in the week and is likely to miss the Vols’ first game of the season.
When the Vols’ released their first official depth chart of the season, Smith was listed as a starter at the second outside linebacker spot whenever the Vols would use three linebacker on the field. As our film study last week showed, linebackers are extremely important in stopping Tech’s offense. Missing someone like Smith, who is a talented player who has moved from linebacker to defensive end back to linebacker, deals another blow to Tennessee’s defense.
Smith missed all of the 2016 season due to injury, and he earned a medical redshirt in the process. As a freshman in 2015, Smith played in all 13 games the Vols played and made one start, totaling three tackles on the season.