For the first time in what seems like forever, the Tennessee Vols are expected to have one of the top offensive lines in the SEC next season.
And that’s not just my opinion.
SEC Network analyst Cole Cubelic, a former Auburn offensive lineman who has worked for ESPN since 2011, recently ranked the top offensive lines in the SEC and he has Tennessee’s as the second best in the conference, behind only Alabama.
MY top 5 SEC OL’s for 2020: pic.twitter.com/LnnEGWaJqZ
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) June 5, 2020
It wasn’t that long ago (the Butch Jones era, which leaked into the Jeremy Pruitt era), that Tennessee had one of the worst offensive lines in the SEC.
Tennessee offensive line living up to its reputation…of being terrible #UTvsUGA
— John Hayes (@JohnHayesOnAir) September 27, 2014
Pruitt and offensive line coach Will Friend, however, have managed to completely change that reputation.
The Vols have plenty of offensive line talent. And that talent is getting developed.
In 2020, Tennessee’s offensive line will feature some combination of Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris (both sophomores who are former five-star recruits), sixth-year senior Brandon Kennedy (who will be at center), senior Trey Smith (former five-star recruit and legitimate first-round NFL talent) and Georgia transfer Cade Mays (also a former five-star recruit).
Mays will need a waiver to play in 2020, but Tennessee remains confident he’ll be cleared (though who knows when).
Beyond those five, the Vols will also have plenty of depth/experience, with Jerome Carvin, K’Rojhn Calbert, Jahmir Johnson, Riley Locklear, and Chris Akporoghene in the mix. They’ll also have four-star signee Cooper Mays, the younger brother of Cade.
If a team is going to win in the SEC, they have to be able to win in the trenches.
And in 2020, the Vols should be one of the best teams in the trenches on the offensive side of the ball.
Featured image via Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports