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Tennessee releases depth chart ahead of season opener

Game week has arrived.

NCAA Football: Tennessee Tech at Tennessee Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

It’s officially game week — we have a depth chart. Tennessee released their first version to kick off Ball State week on Monday, laying out how things should look when the Volunteers take the field on Thursday night.

Let’s dig in. Here’s the official chart for week one.

Perhaps a mild surprise — Bru McCoy was listed as a starter opposite of Cedric Tillman just days after being cleared to play by the NCAA. Walker Merrill was also listed as a starter with the classic -OR- designation. Jalin Hyatt gets the nod in the slot, while Ramel Keyton is listed behind Tillman.

Again, entering Thursday night’s game, I’ll be interested to see how much McCoy plays and how comfortable he looks in this offseason after just a few weeks on grass.

The next position of interest is left tackle, where Gerald Mincey and Jeremiah Crawford get the -OR- designation. Both are expected to play on Thursday night as the battle continues.

Kurrott Garland and Bryson Eason are listed as co-starters beside Omari Thomas at defensive tackle. Elijah Simmons and Da’Jon Terry are listed as equals behind Thomas, though both will be in the rotation.

At linebacker, Aaron Beasley and Juwan Mitchell are both listed as starters in the middle beside Jeremy Banks.

And at cornerback, it’s Christian Charles and Kamal Hadden getting the -OR- designation opposite of veteran Warren Burrell. JUCO product Dee Williams is listed as the fourth cornerback.

Williams is also listed as the team’s punt returner, something he was outstanding at during his time in the JUCO ranks. Trevon Flowers is also an option, while Jimmy Holiday will handle kickoff return duties.

Tennessee and Ball State are set for a 7 p.m. ET kickoff from Neyland Stadium on Thursday night. SEC Network will have the coverage.