22. KYLER KERBYSON, 6-5, 290 OL KNOXVILLE [CATHOLIC HS]
Ratings: Rivals 3* No. 34 offensive tackle, Scout 4* No. 24 offensive tackle, ESPN 3* No. 24 offensive tackle, 247 3*. Chose UT over Alabama, Southern Cal, Florida, Arkansas, Cincinnati, Florida State, Duke, Illinois, Maryland, Stanford, UCLA, Virginia and others.
Looking back: Kerbyson was considered the fourth-ranked player in the state last year and garnered offers from the best programs around the country. In the end, he stayed home and redshirted for the Vols last year. His redshirt was beneficial to everyone involved, but it wasn't because he was disappointing in the least. As a matter of fact, it has been reported that coaches love Kerbyson and consider him one of the best players in last year's class. He simply used the year to get stronger and now has four years to compete. The trick is going to be finding the best place where he fits in. Kerbyson began his UT career at guard but switched over to tackle in late August. Then, in early October, he was coming on in practice and vying for playing time so they moved him back to guard. Where he winds up is anybody's guess, but he's sticking at guard for now. The Vols never used him through the season, and he'll compete to get in the rotation this year.
Looking forward: Everybody will be back along the offensive front next year, but it wasn't like this year solidified anybody's job up there. The Vols will have open competition for all of the starting spots, and Kerbyson is expected to be in the mix at guard along with James Stone, Zach Fulton, Marcus Jackson and JerQuari Schofield. He also has the height and athleticism to move outside if needed, but those spots look pretty solid for the future with Antonio "Tiny" Richardson and JuWuan James. Still, I think he fits better at tackle and think he would be a part of the rotation there sooner. There is also an outside chance that Kerbyson could move to defensive tackle where he was dominant in high school, but I wouldn't look for it to happen since the Vols haven't gotten any OL commitments this year. Kerbyson will be needed for depth purposes on the offensive front, and should project as a solid starter down the line.
Final projection: I really like Kerbyson's athleticism, and he is part of a great offensive line class last year that included Richardson, Jackson, Alan Posey and Mack Crowder. There is good, healthy competition developing on the line, but nobody has stepped up and taken over any spots. Wherever Kerbyson winds up on the line, I see him as being a two-year starter with the ability to play multiple positions up there. He will be a valuable Vol before his career is over.