Welcome to this week's edition of The Hill. SEC season is in full gear and Tennessee begins a pretty tough stretch of four games over the next five weeks. All four opponents will probably be ranked, and 3 of the games are on the road. The first road contest this weekend against Georgia will be a nice measuring stick for the program. We still don’t know how good some of the teams are out there, but after losing against Florida, Tennessee needs a win in the worst way. They desperately want to prove that they belong with the big boys, but have been unable to do so. Tennessee has lost 12 straight games to ranked opponents, and most experts predict the trend will continue.
The Tennessee defense has to be able to set the edge and contain to keep Georgia from running to the outside. The offense needs to find a way to get more playmakers involved-- Cordarelle Patterson after a quiet game against Akron, Pig Howard who continues to gain more of a role in the offense, and Mychal Rivera who can be a weapon underneath. Rajion Neal is especially pumped this week for the game in his home state versus a lot of guys he played with and against growing up. He has practiced with a chip on his shoulder this week. Can he translate that to the field Saturday? He likely needs to do so for Tennessee to have a chance to win the ballgame. We should see some dual back formations Saturday and expect some sort of gadget play early to take a shot at quieting the crowd. If Tennessee is unable to get out of Athens with a win on Saturday, the Mississippi State game in 2 weeks in Starkville will be somewhat of a must win for Dooley. If UT were to lose their next 2 contests, it could mean the beginning of a slippery slope for Dooley and his staff.
At this point, it would surprise us to see ATH/RB/LB Derrick Henry pick Tennessee tomorrow. We were led to believe earlier that if Tennessee took care of business on the field, he would indeed come play for Dooley and company. Obviously, that did not happen with the double digit loss to Florida with Henry in attendance. Saban is actually expected to be at Henry’s game tomorrow night.
RB Derrick Green and WR Marquez North are now the potential game changers on offense for this class. The Vols have a good chance at both.
We also think that Juco WR Jonathon Rumph will be thinking hard about the Vols. We like UT’s chances for this 6’5’’ wideout.
RB David Williams and RB AJ Turman will both be on campus for the UT v Bama game. Those two backs would be a nice combo, but Green is the top back if Henry does choose Bama.
Former Maryland commit LB Yannick Ngakoue will be coming to campus soon. He fits the mold for what we want at that position, and Tennessee will pursue him hard.
TE Lucas Wilson has a decision to make. He will be a Vol unless he chooses to follow his childhood dream of becoming a pilot.
CB Cameron Sutton has had a great high school season so far. Tennessee has always been his favorite, and we feel like he will end up being a nice get for this staff.
Though he publicly committed to USC awhile back, some Tennessee fans have held out hope that we might be able to sway Jalen Ramsey. It’s time to officially give up on that hope.
Look for the staff to push for DT Rod Crayton. He demands double teams and has been beasting so far against his Alabama high school competition.
Finally, the staff does not appear too concerned with CB Kameron Miles following his recent visit to Arizona State.
Thank you for reading The Hill and thank you for visiting our site. Because of you, our message board has been ranked as #1 against all other Tennessee message boards by a professional ranking service (zeevol.com). We are top 5 in the nation overall, and have plans of taking the #1 spot soon. A big win over Georgia would most certainly help. Go Vols.