With a pivotal SEC game against foe Kentucky on the slate for this weekend, let’s take a look at some players that could make an impact for the Vols in Lexington.
Johnson has been a pleasant surprise for Vol fans this year. He leads the team in receiving yards and trails only John Kelly in receptions. With Marquez Callaway seemingly disappearing from the offense, Johnson needs to bring in a majority of his targets to help Jarrett Guarantano, whose passing numbers have yet to take off.
Johnson had an off week against the Crimson Tide, hauling in one pass for six yards. Tennessee is in dire need for him to have a bounce-back game.
Kentucky hasn’t lived up to the rushing attack that made them so dangerous last year, but that’s not to say the threat isn’t there. Tennessee’s linebacker core has to be on its A-game to contain Benny Snell, as well as making sure Stephen Johnson doesn’t take over the game with his legs. Colton Jumper and Daniel Bituli have been playing out of their minds this season, with Bituli leading the team in total tackles and Jumper third in total tackers by linebackers.
Ty Chandler and Marquez Callaway
Tennessee’s special teams until has thrived in every area but one: punt and kick returns. With the absence of Evan Berry, Tennessee’s return game has been lackluster. Callaway and Chandler are going to have to turn it up a notch this week to lend a hand to a struggling offense. A boost from those two may begin jump-starting a return game that was vital for the Volunteers last year, even without Berry.
Shaq Wiggins’ time at Tennessee has been a disappointment, to say the least. Wiggins was recruited out of high school by Georgia and then transferred to Louisville before joining the Vols as a grad transfer.
Despite success at Louisville and high expectations, Wiggins has been a non-factor this season. With a total of ten tackles on the season and no interceptions, he’s in desperate need of a breakout performance. Tennessee has depth at the cornerback position and without a stellar performance, Wiggins could see his snap count drop drastically.