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We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“Pruitt mentioned a few names that have gained 20lbs in the weight room. We heard this song from Lyle Jones and our boys looked smaller every season. Pruitt telling truth or nah?” – Scott
Nathanael: I think Pruitt is telling the truth in this case honestly. Judging from pics we saw from a recent photo shoot Tennessee did with players in their uniforms, I think it’s safe to say some of the weight gains are for real. It will be interesting to see how some of these guys look in fall camp, but I do think, for the most part, the reported weight gains are for real.
Charley: I agree with Nathanael here, I think he’s telling the truth. Some of the players seem to look bigger than they did a year ago. The staff that is in place has a good track record in the weight room. Pruitt doesn’t really have any reason to be dishonest about the matter.
“With Pruitt saying we’ll need every running back at some point this season, how good of a season will Jeremy Banks have this year?” – @htcook1999
Nathanael: I think Banks won’t be counted on as much this year as next season. To me, he’s buried behind at least Ty Chandler and Madre London on the depth chart. He’s probably behind Tim Jordan as well. This year, I don’t think he gets a ton of playing time. But next year, I think he’ll make an impact.
Charley: This is an interesting question here, because based off everything the coaches have said this offseason, it appears that Banks will be a part of the rotation at running back this season. However, I just can’t really see him having that big of a role. I don’t think they need to take too many carries away from Ty Chandler and Madre London, and he also has to compete with Tim Jordan for snaps. Barring injury, I see him getting 20-25 carries this season, but he will make the most of those limited touches.
“Who do you think has a better chance to be the go to guy for QB in the future, JT Shrout or Brian Maurer? – @wild_bill_cosby
Nathanael: I think Maurer has the better chance. To me, Shrout has a higher ceiling but a lower floor. I think Maurer has more ability to live up to his potential than Shrout does. And that’s not to say I think Shrout is a bad QB, because I don’t. But I think Maurer has more intangibles and better consistency than Shrout. I don’t think he’s as much of a gunslinger than Shrout is.
Charley: Brian Mauer certainly has the better chance to be the “guy” in the future. He is a player that is really just beginning to figure himself out as a quarterback, and he’s already one of the best in his class. Shrout may have the better arm, but he just has so many other skills he needs to develop. His accuracy is a concern for me as he threw an alarming amount of interceptions in high school. Still, both guys have plenty of potential.
“How are we looking, recruiting wise, towards Kris Bogle and Henry To’oto’o?” – Josh
Nathanael: I think Tennessee is in a very, very good spot with Bogle. I don’t want to get into it too much here because I plan on writing something up about him soon, but I think the Vols are definitely in the lead for him. As far as To’oto’o, I don’t feel nearly as good about him. I think he likes the Vols and they might be his top choice if he doesn’t stay on the west coast, but I do think he stays somewhere out west.
Charley: I like the Vols chances with Bogle. I think all signs point towards him ending up in the orange and white, and he will make a very solid addition to the class. As for To’oto’o, Tennessee isn’t in bad shape for him, but its just so hard to get those west coast prospects to leave the west. I think the Vols will hang around until the very end, but he’s going to end up staying home at UCLA or USC. That’s a real shame too because I think he is a top 5 player in the country.
“How are we with Jaylen McCollough and Quavaris Crouch?” – @v_fball
Nathanael: McCollough has been interesting to track. I don’t have as good of a feel on his recruitment as I do with other defensive backs like Warren Burrell or Jaydon Hill. I think McCollough likes Tennessee a lot, but I’m not sure if there will be room for him because he doesn’t have a set position. Will he stay at safety, or will he play linebacker in college? He’s a great athlete, and I think they’d try to make room for him. But he’s continued to puzzle me. He is visiting next weekend, though. Crouch, however, is still leaning towards the Vols from what I can tell.
Charley: McCollough has been as a really hard recruit to gauge. I think right now he still really doesn’t have a feel for where he wants to go, or even who his current favorite may be. Right now it is more likely he ends up at South Carolina, but everything is still up in the air. The Vols are going to get some secondary commits here soon, and that could impact his recruitment as well. Crouch has also been a hard one to read, but signs seem to point towards Tennessee being the favorite as it stands now. I could really see him ending up a number of places though.
“How many games in before CJP gets a penalty this year for berating a ref for a bad call?” – Jeff
Nathanael: I don’t think he’s going to be quite as fiery as Butch was in his first couple seasons, but I could be wrong on that. It might not happen this year.
Charley: I don’t think he will. He is a passionate guy, but I think its a controlled passion. I think he is mature enough to know where to draw that line and avoid a penalty. I guess we’ll just have to see though.