SEC Network’s Cole Cubelic is an offensive line guru. He studies them during the offseason, then gets a field level view of things during the fall. If you want to talk offensive line play, look no further than Cubelic.
That’s why it’s noteworthy that he’s so high on Tennessee’s front five entering 2020. He named Tennessee as the No. 2 offensive line in the SEC, while placing Brandon Kennedy and Trey Smith in his top five for individual positions.
On Monday, Cubelic ranked Tennessee’s offensive line 4th in the entire country, trailing only Alabama, Ohio State and Notre Dame. Oklahoma, Tennessee’s week two opponent, was ranked 5th.
It’s not all that difficult to figure out why he’s so high on the Tennessee offensive line. Trey Smith opted to forgo the NFL Draft and return for his senior season. Brandon Kennedy applied for another year of eligibility and won his case. Those two return to join former five-star prospects Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris. K’Rojhn Calbert, Riley Locklear, Jerome Carvin and Jahmir Johnson are all back, providing plenty of depth.
The cherry on top? Former five-star prospect Cade Mays returned home to Knoxville during the offseason, transferring from Georgia to Tennessee. Mays is expected to apply for immediate eligibility. Assuming he gets it, Tennessee will start four former five-star prospects up front.
That’s going to provide quite a few running lanes for Eric Gray and Ty Chandler, who will share the load in the Tennessee backfield. It will be the strongest group by far that quarterback Jarrett Guarantano has ever played behind, perhaps giving Tennessee’s fifth year senior passer a chance to be a little more consistent in his final season.
The offensive line is easily the strongest part of this roster, which must be the catalyst for Jim Chaney’s attack after seeing Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway exit the program. Hopefully for Tennessee, this front can live up to the growing hype.