Let’s play a game. Who is the only sophomore linebacker to be on the Butkus Award watchlist?
There is only one correct answer to this question and it’s Henry To’o To’o. As a freshman, To’o To’o was second on Tennessee’s team in tackles with 72, fourth in the nation among freshman. Arguably, Henry T is Jeremy Pruitt’s most-prized recruit since being at Tennessee and his stats prove it.
The preseason hype is real for the California native and, honestly, To’o To’o has potential this season to show that he is the next Reggie White. Yes, I just said he could be the next Reggie White. First, To’o To’o does so many things right on the field. He’s superb when it comes to hitting his assignments at the line of scrimmage. We saw examples of sticking to your assignments against Kentucky in the final minutes on the goal line. To’o To’o’s stop on 3rd & 1 set up the big stop on 4th down to secure the win against the Wildcats.
Besides knowing his assignments, To’o To’o was exceptionally good in coverage in passing situations. His stats don’t tell you how good his pass coverage skills are but that means nobody wants to throw it in his direction.
Even though Henry T is one of the most feared linebackers in the SEC, he can always improve on some things to be the most God-fearing linebacker out there. For as much as Pruitt brings pressure you would think Henry T would have more sacks, right? I think Henry T has elite speed but at times he’s one step behind getting to the QB. Considering he was only a freshman last season, that’s one small thing he can improve on to be elite.
Lastly, To’o To’o will be the SEC Defensive Player of the Year, which is probably not as bold as many think.