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Freshman OL Chris Akporoghene to miss the start of spring practice

Tennessee will struggle with depth on the offensive line this spring.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at West Virginia Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports

During an interview on Monday afternoon on the Paul Finebaum show, Tennessee head coach said that freshman offensive lineman Chris Akporoghene will not be available to start spring football practice.

Akporoghene signed and enrolled early at Tennessee in December. According to Pruitt, Akporoghene had a procedure on his knee that will sideline him for the first few sessions of spring ball.

On the surface, it doesn’t sound all that serious. But when you look a little deeper, Tennessee is still going to struggle with offensive line depth this spring, despite signing the nation’s top offensive line class.

  • Trey Smith is recovering from blood clots and will not be available.
  • Drew Richmond is seeking a transfer and is not expected back.
  • Tanner Antonutti, Devante Brooks and Chance Hall each retired due to medicals.
  • Brandon Kennedy is still working back from a week one knee injury that cost him his 2018 season.
  • Reinforcements Darnell Wright, Jackson Lampley and Melvin McBride won’t arrive on campus until the fall.

With Akporoghene missing the first practices, that leaves roughly 9-10 bodies on the offensive line to open camp with. Jeremy Pruitt talked last year about how he didn’t even have the numbers to field two full offensive line groups last year. It’s not quite as bad as that situation, but the numbers are still pretty thin up front to start things out for Tennessee.

Once again, offensive line seems like it will be the key story to follow this spring. The good news is, those depth concerns will vanish in the fall. The Vols will be young, but at least they’ll have some legitimate competitive depth to practice with.