After going 4-8 last season and following that up with a disaster of a coaching search, it’s easy to forget about some of the talented players the Vols have on their roster heading into the 2018 season. And Athlon Sports thinks one of Tennessee’s top players is flying under the radar before the start of this upcoming season.
Athlon put out a list of their top 50 most underrated players in the entire FBS heading into the 2018 season, and they think junior safety Nigel Warrior is one of those 50 players.
“New Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt is a defensive back coach by trade and should help Warrior elevate his play into a spot among the SEC’s top players in the secondary,” Athlon states. “Warrior recorded 83 stops, three pass breakups, three forced fumbles and one interception last year.”
Coming in to Tennessee, Warrior was a high four-star prospect and was the highest-rated player in the Vols’ 2016 signing class per the 247Sports Composite rankings. He immediately saw the field as a freshman and even started a game, but his real contributions came last year during his junior season. He started all 12 games for the Vols last year and finished second on the team and 13th in the SEC with 83 tackles.
Warrior flashed some big play-making potential last season, returning an interception 70 yards for a score against Missouri and forcing a team-high three fumbles during the season. He also blocked a PAT against Missouri in the same game.
The rising junior is expected to start for the Vols at one of their two safety positions this season, and he should be one of the strongest pieces on Jeremy Pruitt’s first defense at Tennessee. There’s a good chance that Warrior will head for the NFL after this season if he lives up to expectations.
In 24 career games with Tennessee, Warrior has totaled 105 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, a sack, an interception, four pass breakups, three forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a blocked PAT.