Tennessee is just over 48 hours away from taking the field on the Third Saturday in October against rival Alabama. However, there’s still an abundance of questions on who will be taking the field for both teams with the kick off closing in.
One of those questions involves the status of Tennessee safety and defensive captain Jaylen McCollough. The Knoxville Police Department arrested and charged McCollough with aggravated assault Sunday after the senior safety punched a man outside of his apartment.
The man reportedly drunkenly entered McCollough’s home thinking it was a friend’s apartment before leaving. The altercation occurred outside McCollough’s apartment.
As the police continue to resolve the issue, Heupel hasn’t stated what McCollough’s status is inside the Volunteer program. That uncertainty continued Thursday as Heupel didn’t share whether the senior safety would be available for Saturday’s game against the Crimson Tide.
“We’re getting multiple guys ready to play,” Heupel said. “Obviously with the situation, there’s a process that goes on and we’re still going through that. We’ll see where we get to late tomorrow.”
Heupel wasn’t “going to get into all of that” when a reporter asked whether McCollough had practiced this week.
Redshirt freshman Ohio State transfer and freshman Jourdan Thomas are McCollough’s co back ups on the depth chart while senior Georgia Tech transfer Wesley Walker could also slide from star to safety.
Despite being a starter and captain, McCollough is far from the biggest question mark entering the top six matchup.
Alabama quarterback Bryce Young missed last week’s game against Texas A&M after suffering a right shoulder injury the week before against Arkansas. Alabama coach Nick Saban hasn’t tipped his hand at whether the reigning Heisman Trophy winner will be ready for Saturday’s showdown.
Heupel was similarly coy about Cedric Tillman’s status for Saturday’s game. The star receiver has missed Tennessee’s last two games after undergoing “tightrope” surgery on his ankle following Tennessee’s win over Akron.
The second year head coach noted that being back for the Alabama game is “part of the reason why he (Tillman) had the surgery” on his ankle. Still, Tillman’s status for Saturday’s game is anything but certain.
Tennessee and Alabama kick off at Neyland Stadium at 3:30 p.m. ET. Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jenny Dell are on the call for CBS.