Let’s face it — there are some obvious holes in this Tennessee roster right now. They’ve been created by a number of transfers, which stemmed from the exit of Jeremy Pruitt at the beginning of this year.
Josh Heupel was the man tasked with stopping the bleeding. He’s in the middle of a critical spring period as he shakes out his roster and installs a dramatically new system on both sides of the ball.
One obvious area of need is linebacker, where Henry To’o To’o and Quavaris Crouch opted to enter the transfer portal. Martavius French and Aaron Willis were then arrested and suspended. Aaron Beasley has now been accused of animal abuse and has also been suspended.
That left Morven Joseph and Solon Page as the primary inside linebackers during Tuesday’s practice. There’s no doubt that Tennessee will dip into the transfer portal for help this summer, but for the time being, it makes sense to move some pieces of the puzzle around to help out with depth.
Enter Len’Neth Whitehead, who signed with the Volunteers as an athlete. He was expected to land at linebacker eventually, but started at running back. Even though the former four-star prospect could certainly help out on the other side of the ball, there are no plans to make a change right now.
“Right now he’s locked in at running back,” Tennessee running backs coach Jerry Mack said. “He’s still nursing his injury. He’s not 100% as far as full-contact, but he goes through all our drills with us. He does everything. Really intelligent player, too. He sits in the meeting room, he understands and knows the signals and he knows everything that we’re doing. But there has been no discussion right now to move him to the linebacker position.”
Perhaps that decision has something to do with his injury, something that has plagued him since he arrived on campus.
Tennessee has a closed scrimmage set for Thursday in Knoxville, and it will be interesting to hear how this position in particular performs. Look for Willis and French to return to the practice field eventually, but for the time being, numbers are pretty rough in the linebacker room right now.