9. Alexis Johnson, DL
When Alexis Johnson joined the Vols as part of their 2016 recruiting class, he was a consensus four-star junior college defensive lineman. He was expected to come in and contribute immediately for Tennessee. But his enrollment kept getting delayed, and he was behind once he arrived that fall. He ended up redshirting in 2016, but fans were expecting him to finally shine in 2017.
Except, he didn’t. Not really.
Johnson appeared in 11 of the Vols’ 12 games and totaled just 14 tackles, two sacks, and two tackles for loss. He contributed, but not in the way you’d expect a former four-star JUCO player to do. The odds are stacked against him this year too with a reformed defensive line and four-star JUCO lineman Emmit Gooden coming in too.
This is Johnson’s last year to prove himself as a Vols, and he’ll like to go out on a high note.