How Many Starts Do the Vols Return at Each Position?

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    Photo credit: Anne Newman/RTI

    Tennessee has more talent than you might expect entering the 2018 season, but how much of that talent has actual collegiate experience?

    The Vols don’t have much in the way of returning experience at running back, tight end, or cornerback this upcoming season, and the most veteran group is also one of the smaller ones at safety. Tennessee will be relying on several unproven and oft-injured players to be big contributors in 2018.

    Last season, Tennessee wasn’t a particularly veteran group overall but did return 334 career starts before the start of the season. Of those 334 starts, 110 of them came on the offensive line.

    This year, the Vols’ overall experience on the roster is even less than last season.

    Tennessee returns a total of just 237 career starts among their 84 scholarship players heading in to Jeremy Pruitt’s first year as head coach. That’s an average of just 2.82 starts per scholarship player on the roster. No returning player has more than 22 career starts to their credit.

    So which units are the most experienced and which will be counting on the most newcomers? We take a look at how many starts each of Tennessee’s units return heading into 2018.

    Note: A player’s total game appearances appear in parentheses next to their total number of starts. 

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    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.