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Young Vols Ready to Rise?

Today's talking points discusses the promise of the young Vols squad… The Kahlil countdown and other news from The Opening camp… another watch list with AJ Johnson's name on it…. and it's only 53 days till kickoff!

Al Messerschmidt


AJ Johnson added to yet another watch list

AJ Johnson's name has came up quite a bit this offseason, all in a very good way.  Johnson has been named to numerous watch lists while also being named to All-SEC and All-America.  The most recent list to have Johnson named listed is the Chuck Bednarik Watch List which is awarded to the best defensive player in the nation.

Medley's Wall

When we discuss impact freshman from the 2014 recruiting class the likes of Bates, Malone, Hurd, and Berry often are tossed around, one that often slips to the back of Tennessee fans mind is kicker Aaron Medley.  It's been no secret that UT's kicking game has struggled mightily to find any sort of consistency since the days of James Wilhoit, Medley can (and I think will) be that consistency.  Medley, the prodigy of former UT kicker James Wilhoit, was ranked as one of the top kickers in the 2014 recruiting class.  From what Medley has shown so far in spring practice and videos from his workouts with Wilhoit, I fully expect Medley to handle the kicking duties for the Vols this year. You can get to know Medley in this feature from

Oh yeah, here is Medley nailing a 65 yard field goal at the Kohl's kicking camp last year.

Vols are young but talented

With the addition of the 2014 recruiting class, Butch Jones has upgraded the roster both talent wise and depth.  Though the Vols will be a young team, playing the second hardest schedule in the country, there is much to be optimistic about.  This article from SI on the Vols youth and Butch Jones job so far at UT will get you excited for the future of UT football (But then again, who isn't already excited?)  The early season could be a rough ride for the Vols with Utah St., traveling to Oklahoma, and facing the Dawgs and Gators at home.  By November this team will be seasoned and experienced, and could go undefeated in the month of November to get to their first bowl game since 2010, and that is a must for Butch Jones and the Vols if they want to make the big jump in 2015 competing for the SEC East.  This quote from WR coach Zach Azzani will reassure you of the coaches commitment.

"Azzanni: "I had a neighbor tell me the other day, ‘Man, I hope you guys stay here a long time.’ I told him we all just built houses. That’s a big deal. I’ve never built a house -- I’ve rented everywhere I’ve been. With this place, we all kind of have that feeling that if we do it right, we could all be here a long time."

Recruiting: The Opening

The Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, OR is buzzing with analyst and reporters from every recruiting site and major college program in the country, oh and there are also some of the top players in the 2015 and 2016 class there too.

Many of Tennessee's top targets for the 2015 class are taking part in Nike's Opening camp this week, those players include: Van Jefferson WR, Tim Settle DT, Josh Sweat DE (who's sparq rating was 140, that's really freaking good) Drew Richmond OL, Quarte Sapp LB, Torrance Gibson ATH (are we recruiting him? are we not recruiting him? It's a pretty weird recruitment) Bryce Love RB, Christian Kirk WR and Kahlil McKenzie DT who will be announcing his commitment tomorrow night between 8-11pm est.

Tennessee also has a couple of commits at the Opening, Preston Williams and Cecil Cherry are both in attendance and in other prospects ear about joining them at UT.  The Vols should have 3 commits at the Opening after tomorrow night with the Vols as the heavy favorite to land 5 star DT Kahlil McKenzie.

And this is Mckenzie abusing Alabama OL commit Richie Petitbon

Here is a gallery from 247sports of Vol targets from the first day at the Opening.

Photos: Day One at The Opening

Tomorrow should be a good day! Go Vols!