-Returning Statistical Leaders: QB Tyler Bray (125-224, 1849 yds, 18 tds, 10 ints), RB Tauren Poole (204 att, 1034 yds, 11 tds), WR Justin Hunter (16 rec, 415 yds, 7 tds)
-Returning Starters: (8): Tyler Bray, Tauren Poole, Channing Fugate, Ju’Wuan James, Zach Fulton, James Stone, JerQuari Schofield, Dallas Thomas
QB: Tyler Bray[SO], Matt Simms[SR], Nash Nance[FR] or Justin Worley[FR](RS)
~After a strong freshman campaign, in which he threw for 1,849 yards and 18 touchdowns, Bray should easily exceed those numbers in his second season. The biggest concern with Bray this past season was his size–he played around 190 lbs–expect him to be closer to 220 lbs this year. As long as Simms doesn’t transfer, he will provide valuable depth and experience behind Bray, as well as, give Worley a chance to redshirt. Although the coaches would like to redshirt him, do not be surprised if the freshman Worley breaks into the depth chart; the coaches, especially offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, love him. Nance will provide depth.
RB: Tauren Poole[SR], Rajion Neal[SO], Marlin Lane[FR] or Tom Smith[FR], Toney Williams[SO]
~Coming off a 1,000+ yard season, Poole will head into spring camp as the favorite to win the runningback position, but sophomores, Neal and Williams, and freshmen, Lane and Smith, will all push for carries. Neal had a decent showing last season before hitting the proverbial “freshman wall.” Williams looks to return to full strength following a knee injury his freshman year. Smith and Lane, two highly recruited backs from Florida, have the talent to overtake the upperclassmen, if they can handle the adjustment to the college level.
FB: Channing Fugate[SO], Sam Edgmon[SR]
~Fugate moved into the starting lineup last season during the South Carolina game and went on to start five of the final six games; he will be relied on this season to man the fullback role full-time. Edgmon is a walk-on who has contributed on special teams but shouldn’t be counted on on offense, barring injury.
WR1: Justin Hunter[SO], Matt Milton[SO]
~The receiving corp is the most talented part of this team, however, they lack experience. Justin Hunter showed his incredible talents often throughout his freshman year reeling in seven touchdowns on only sixteen catches, but this year he will stuck with the task of filling the shoes left by Denarius Moore. Milton is a huge receiver at 6’6″ 220 lbs who could end up at tight end, before all is said and done, but is a great mismatch no matter where he plays.
WR2: Da’Rick Rogers[SO], DeMario Williams[JR]
~Rogers, a consensus 5* in the 2010 class, will have to take over for Gerald Jones this coming year. Rogers had a hard time cracking the lineup early in the season, but cashed in on his opportunities late in the year, catching a touchdown in the bowl game. Williams, playing in his first season following a transfer from MTSU, received high praise from the coaches during spring practice.
SLOT: Zach Rogers[JR] or DeAnthony Arnett[FR], Vincent Dallas[FR]
~Rogers, Arnett and Dallas will all see time at the slot position. Rogers has seen playing time sparingly his first two years on campus but should see more this year, even possibly starting early on before giving way to Arnett or possibly Dallas. Arnett is an Army All-American who is a superb route runner with great quickness. Dallas isn’t the route runner Arnett, but he is faster; he is a possibility for kick and punt returner next season.
TE: Mychal Rivera[JR], Cam Clear[FR], Ben Bartholomew[JR], Brendan Downs[FR](RS)
~Rivera, who started his career at Oregon, before going the junior college route, has the task of replacing All-SEC TE Luke Stocker. Rivera, a better receiver than blocker, will split time with the freshman, Clear, and veteran, Bartholomew. Clear will, more than likely, grown into a spot on the offensive or defensive line before his career at Tennessee is done, as he is already north of 260 pounds. Bartholomew has moved back and forth between fullback and tight end during his first three years on the squad and may do the same again this year, but, for now, he will add depth and experience at tight end. Downs could see playing time if Bartholomew moves back to fullback but is a likely candidate to redshirt.
LT: Ja’Wuan James[SO], Marques Pair[FR], Daniel Hood[SO]
LG: Zach Fulton[SO], ^Alex Bullard[SO], Kevin Revis[SO], Kyler Kerbyson[FR](RS)
C: James Stone[SO], Darin Gooch[JR] or Mack Crowder[FR]
RG: JerQuari Schofield[SO], Marcus Jackson[FR], Carson Anderson[JR]
RT: Dallas Thomas[JR], Antonio Richardson[FR], Alan Posey[FR](RS)
~Six returning linemen have starting experience, including Freshaman All-American, James Stone. After a rough season for the offensive line, which featured up to four freshman starters at points, this group should be much improved and a strong point for the offense. The left tackle, guard and center positions look to be secured by James, Fulton and Stone; the right side of the line, however, looks to have position battles. Schofield, who battled an ankle injury last season, will have to beat out the Under Armour All-American, Jackson, while Thomas, who started every game at left tackle last season, will have to beat out the Army All-American, Richardson. The addition of Notre Dame transfer, #Bullard, will provide needed depth and experience, assuming he is allowed to play this season. Posey, Kerbyson and Crowder are probable redshirts, while Revis, Gooch and Anderson look to be career back-ups. Coming off a redshirt season, the athletic Pair could make a serious push for playing time at the tackle position.
^ – Awaiting waiver.
# – Coming off injury.
Offense by Class:
QB: Justin Worley
TE: Brendan Downs
OT: Alan Posey
OG: Kyler Kerbyson
C: Mack Crowder