Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt confirmed a previous report on Thursday that Wanya Morris would miss spring practice after undergoing surgery in January. He also gave us more injury news, saying that rising sophomore linebacker Quavaris Crouch would also miss the spring period.
Crouch, a former top prospect, underwent shoulder surgery after the Gator Bowl win over Indiana.
“It’s something that we just felt like it was better to go ahead and fix right now,” Pruitt said on Thursday. “The doctors did. He’ll be back and ready to go this summer.”
Crouch played early on in a variety of roles for Tennessee, including inside linebacker, outside linebacker and goal line running back. He finished the season with 28 tackles and two touchdown runs, including a big one in the Gator Bowl.
With Daniel Bituli and Darrell Taylor now gone, Crouch will likely move into a starting role somewhere within the front seven. As we’ve seen over the past two seasons, Pruitt doesn’t like pigeonholing linebackers to just one spot. He likes playing them on the inside and outside, depending on the situation. Crouch fits that idea perfectly.
Tennessee added Bryson Eason, Morven Joseph and Martavius French to the linebacker room during the early signing period. Each of those guys will provide competitive depth when they arrive in the fall.
For the spring, however, Tennessee will be down a playmaker at the position. It’s a little thin right now, but it will also be an opportunity for guys like J.J. Peterson, Kivon Bennett, Roman Harrison and Jordan Allen to get plenty of reps.