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Tennessee Football Recruiting Update: How many can the Vols take?

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Taking a look at the current scholarship makeup of the Tennessee football team.

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Roster Management

In this spring's recruiting recap, I observed that head coach Butch Jones "seems to have a significantly more active style of roster management", noting that the coaching staff had moved seven scholarship players with eligibility remaining off of the roster. Well, if once is a fluke then twice is a trend, as the Vols appear poised to once again be extremely active in moving players both on to and off of the scholarship roster. Below is a breakdown of current players and the numbers involved.

Tennessee Vols Football Roster by Year
Expected graduation year
Players Number
2015 Justin Coleman, Matt Darr, Brendan Downs, A.J. Johnson, Riyahd Jones, Marlin Lane, Marques Pair, Woody Quinn, Jordan Williams, Justin Worley, Devrin Young
11
2016 Dontavius Blair, Cody Blanc, Mack Crowder, Pig Howard, Marcus Jackson, Johnathon Johnson, Kyler Kerbyson, Curt Maggitt, LaDarrell McNeil, Geraldo Orta, Von Pearson, Brian Randolph, Trevarris Saulsberry, Chris Weatherd, Owen Williams 15
2017 Drae Bowles, A.J. Branisel, George Bullock, Kenny Bynum, Jason Croom, Joshua Dobbs, Malik Foreman, Lemond Johnson, Justin King, LaTroy Lewis, Jaylen Miller, Marquez North, Danny O'Brien, Nathan Peterman, Jaylen Reeves-Maybin, Josh Smith, Devaun Swafford, Cameron Sutton, Corey Vereen, Dylan Wiesman 20
2018 Derek Barnett, Dillon Bates, Elliott Berry, Evan Berry, Gavin Bryant, Neiko Creamer, Rashaan Gaulden, Daniel Helm, Joe Henderson, Dewayne Hendrix, Jalen Hurd, Ryan Jenkins, Jakob Johnson, Todd Kelly, Jr., Brett Kendrick, Josh Malone, Cortez McDowell, Aaron Medley, Dimarya Mixon, Emmanuel Moseley, Charles Mosley, D'Andre Payne, Treyvon Paulk, Ray Raulerson, Jashon Robertson, Austin Sanders, Michael Sawyers, Derrell Scott, Coleman Thomas, Kendal VIckers, Vic Wharton, Ethan Wolf 32
Total recruited players 78

Roster Management Numbers
Total recruited players 2014
78
Winter graduates Coleman, Gilliam, Johnson, Pair, J. Williams 5
Likely spring graduates Darr, Downs, Jones, Lane, Orta, Worley, Young 7
Confirmed transfers Helm, Hendrix, Scott 3
Academic casualty Henderson 1
Total recruited players 2015 62
Likely spring transfers Peterman, Bowles, Quinn
3
Likely roster size 2015 59
Available scholarships for 2015 26
NCAA scholarship limit 85

Winter Graduates

On Saturday, eleven current members of the football team earned degrees from the University of Tennessee: Justin Coleman (Communication Studies), Mack Crowder (Marketing), Matt Giampapa (Economics), Jacob Gilliam (Political Science), AJ Johnson (Sociology), Curt Maggitt (Communication Studies), Marques Pair (Communication Studies), Nathan Peterman (Communication Studies), Brian Randolph (Management), Trevarris Saulsberry (Sociology), and Jordan Williams (Sociology). Vol For Life (and 2013 starter at outside linebacker) Dontavis Sapp also received his degree (Sociology).

Six of the players who graduated early have eligibility remaining and may pursue graduate degrees at Tennessee: Crowder, Giampapa, Maggitt, Peterman, Randolph and Saulsberry.

Expected Spring Graduates

Recruited players Matt Darr, Brendan Downs, Marlin Lane, Justin Worley, and Devrin Young have exhausted their NCAA eligibility and are expected to graduate in the spring semester.  Despite having eligibility remaining, Riyahd Jones and Geraldo Orta are also expected to graduate and leave the football program, with both players having participated in Senior Day activities in 2014.

Transfers

Derrell Scott, Dewayne Hendrix, and Daniel Helm have all been confirmed as transfers, although release details haven't been made public. There's no new information on other players who were rumored to be considering a transfer, with D'Andre Payne and Michael Sawyers the two names that have popped up.

Updated Scholarship Matrix

Although I don't expect this project to be completely accurate (because schools don't have a handy way to keep track of awarded scholarships), the scholarship matrix has been updated to account for expected transfers and to reflect position changes. The columns have also been relabeled by football season rather than graduation year to prevent confusion. Note that scholarships awarded to former walk-on players have not been tracked.

Quick Observations on the current roster:

  • Tennessee needs running back depth behind starter Jalen Hurd. Alvin Kamara may be as good as advertised, but the Vols need to sign more than one other running back, even with players like Rocky Reid and Vincent Perry expected to be available.
  • The Vols intend to take as many defensive ends as they can in the current class, with freshmen Dewayne Hendrix and Joe Henderson leaving and hybrid pass rushers Curt Maggitt and Chris Weatherd rising seniors.
  • Offensive line numbers shouldn't be a problem for Tennessee. With Charles Mosley and Jashon Robertson moving to the offensive side of the ball, the Vols will have 16 scholarship players on the line next year, including 3 four star and 13 three star players.

Tennessee Vols Scholarship Matrix
Total (60)
2015 (14)
2016 (19)
2017 (27)
HS Commits JR Commits
QB (2)
Josh Dobbs, Nathan Peterman* Quinten Dormady, Jauan Jennings Austin Kendall
RB (1)
Jalen Hurd, Alvin Kamara**
Rocky Reid, Vincent Perry
Dorian Banks
WR (10)

Cody Blanc, Pig Howard, Johnathon Johnson, Von Pearson*

Jason Croom*, Marquez North, Josh Smith Ryan Jenkins*, Josh Malone, Vic Wharton Preston Williams
TE (3)
A.J. Branisel Ethan Wolf, Neiko Creamer Kyle Oliver Darel Middleton
OL (12)
Mack Crowder*, Dontavius Blair, Marcus Jackson*, Kyler Kerbyson* Dylan Wiesman Brett Kendrick*, Ray Raulerson, Austin Sanders*, Coleman Thomas, Charles Mosley, Jashon Robertson Chance Hall, Jack Jones, Zach Stewart, Venzell Boulware
Ryan Johnson
DL (10)
Trevarris Saulsberry* (DT), Owen Williams* (DT), LaTroy Lewis* (DE), Jaylen Miller (DE), Danny O'Brien* (DT), Corey Vereen (DE)
Derek Barnett (DE), Dimarya Mixon (DT), Michael Sawyers (DT), Kendall Vickers*

Andrew Butcher (DE), Marques Ford (DE), Darrell Taylor (DE), Kahlil McKenzie (DT), Quay Picou (DT), Shy Tuttle (DT)

LB (9)
Curt Maggitt, Chris Weatherd* Kenny Bynum*, Justin King*, Jalen Reeves-Maybin

Dillon Bates, Gavin Bryant, Jakob Johnson, Cortez McDowell

Darrin Kirkland, Austin Smith Emanuel Bridges
DB (11)
LaDarrell McNeil (S), Brian Randolph* (S)
Malik Foreman, Lemond Johnson, Cameron Sutton (CB), Elliott Berry, Evan Berry, Rashaan Gaulden, Todd Kelly, Jr. (S), Emmanuel Moseley (CB), D'Andre Payne (CB)
Darrell Miller, Jocquez Bruce, Stephen Griffin (S), Micah Abernathy Marquill Osborne, Bailey Phillips
ST (2)
George Bullock* (PK) Aaron Medley (PK) Tommy Townsend (P), Riley Lovingood (LS)
Key * = Redshirt ** = JUCO commits not yet enrolled