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Positions Tennessee Football Still Needs To Address In Transfer Portal

Zahir Mathis
Photo via Tennessee Athletics.

As Tennessee football heads to Orlando for its 2023 finale against Iowa in the Citrus Bowl, the Vols’ coaching staff is still scouring the transfer portal to add pieces to their 2024 roster.

The Vols have landed four transfers to date at major positions of need: Notre Dame tight end Holden Staes, MTSU safety JaKobe Thomas, Oregon State cornerback Jermod McCoy and Tulane receiver Chris Brazzell Jr.

But as Josh Heupel stated when the Vols signed the first three transfer last week, Tennessee is still looking to add more transfers and that will continue even after the bowl game. So what positions should Tennessee look to add players at?

Let’s take a look here.

Priority One


Safety is the spot Tennessee still needs to add bodies at the most. While there are other positions of need left, none of them are extremely pressing. In fact, at every other spot Tennessee still has starter quality players.

At safety, Tennessee badly needs to add more starting caliber players. Landing MTSU safety JaKobe Thomas was a nice addition but it was truly just a start.

Jaylen McCollough and Wesley Walker played the vast majority of Tennessee’s snaps last season. McCollough is out of eligibility and Walker is in the transfer portal. Andre Turrentine struggled in two starts to end the season, rising-senior Christian Charles has yet to make a true impact and rising-junior Jourdan Thomas has flashed potential but doesn’t have major experience. True freshman Boo Carter and redshirt freshman John Slaughter could also push for playing time.

All that to say, Tennessee needs more starting quality players at safety. At the very least they need more bodies to provide depth and competition.

Priority Two


Like safety, Tennessee has been ravished by the transfer portal at corner this offseason. Unlike safety, Tennessee has more corners that appear to be viable starters for next season.

McCoy started at Oregon State as a true freshman last season and was a solid player. Freshman Rickey Gibson III flashed in spots during the 2023 season. The Vols also return talented freshman corners Jordan Matthews and Cristian Conyer. Starter Gabe Jeudy-Lally also has eligibility remaining though his return seems unlikely.

Tennessee has some talented pieces to like at corner but they’re also extremely low on numbers and experience. They need to add more of both in the transfer portal.

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Interior Offensive Lineman

Tennessee returns center Cooper Mays and it seems like a real possibility that starting right guard Javontez Spraggins will return. But the Vols definitively have to replace left guard Ollie Lane and their options already on campus are limited.

Former Texas transfer Andrej Karic is the most likely candidate to replace Lane, but he struggled in his limited playing time in 2023 while also battling injuries.

And behind Karic there are not many solid options at guard unless a second-year player takes a major step forward.

Priority Three

Defensive Tackle

Tennessee’s need for defensive tackles is dependent on a few pending decisions. Redshirt senior Elijah Simmons has one-year of eligibility remaining but hasn’t announced whether he intends to use it. Redshirt junior Omarr-Norman Lott went through Senior Day festivities but it is unclear whether or not he’ll move on from college football or return for another season.

The Vols do return Omari Thomas, Dominic Bailey, Bryson Eason and freshmen Daevin Hobbs and Tyree Weathersby. If either Simmons or Norman-Lott returns, Tennessee would be fine without adding a defensive tackle.

But if neither returns, Tennessee could use another body at a position that rotates players constantly.

Offensive Tackle

This is a hard task for Tennessee. The Vols know who their starters are with John Campbell Jr. and Gerald Mincey each returning after serving as starters last season.

But there’s very little behind Campbell and Mincey on Tennessee’s roster. Backup Dayne Davis returning for his super senior season would provide one solid depth piece but there’s no one else on the roster that has played any meaningful snaps.

But with the starting tackles returning, finding even decent tackles in the portal will be difficult. Tennessee might feel better about its returning depth pieces than anyone they could get in the portal.

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