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Jeremy Pruitt talks Alontae Taylor’s (temporary) position switch

It’s all about the depth.

SBNation Recruiting

One of the biggest stories of the week coming out of Tennessee’s spring practice was the move of freshman receiver Alontae Taylor to defensive back. Taylor, a four-star early enrollee, was the next to try his hand at cornerback as Tennessee tries to establish some depth in the secondary.

“I think Alontae can play a lot of positions,” Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said on Thursday. “He was a high school quarterback and he returned kicks, so he’s not going to play quarterback here so every position is new. He’s going to be learning all of them. I think he has a little more experience playing wide receiver because he did do that some in high school. But he also played defensive back. I think he’s got a lot of ability.”

Taylor ran for an even 6,000 yards during his time at Coffee County Central, playing primarily at the quarterback position. But the coaching staff clearly sees some defensive ability there, despite Taylor notching just one career interception in high school.

“It’s probably not fair to him — we put him out there (with the DBs) with the ones — but he’s going against the best guys. So we figure out if he can or can’t. He’s got really good ability, so we’ll give it one more day and let him scrimmage,” Pruitt said.

Once again, Pruitt stressed that this move wasn’t final.

“It’s one of these deals to build depth. He told me today in the meetings that if he could have a couple more days at the position, he could get it down.”

Pruitt is just playing the numbers game here. If a couple of cornerbacks go down in a game, he needs guys ready that at least have somewhat of a baseline. With Tyler Byrd, Carlin Fils-Aime — and now Taylor — he has three bodies that have at least practiced the position. Even if they don’t stick full time at corner, those three could be valuable depth pieces in the future.