A Look at Five Tennessee Players Who Could Change Positions this Fall
Jeremy Pruitt has been very straight forward in his approach in recruiting multi-faceted athletes since his time on Tennessee. The Vols have taken numerous prospects who could play on either side of the ball, and at this time of the year, it always poses the question of where guys will be come Fall. With Athletes set to return to campus in 11 days, Tennessee's staff will have to work to quickly get guys in the right spot, but it should not be an issue. I am using this article to take a hypothetical look at five potential position changes this fall.
Starting with seniority, we find Carlin Fils-Aime. Coming out of high school, Fils-Aime was touted as a top 300 RB prospect on a national level, but he has not had the desired on-field production in Knoxville. He has moved all over Tennessee's roster, and it is easy to think he could see another move this season. The problem is, where does he go? He started as a running back in the Spring, but the depth at the position is not ideal for him. Will he make another transition to defensive back as a utility guy? Only time will tell, but the defensive backfield is crowded as well. Hopefully, Fils-Aime can find his niche heading into his Senior redshirt season.
At one point during his high school career, Quavaris Crouch was the number one player in the country, and he was listed as an athlete. Crouch rushed for 3,246 yards and 33 touchdowns, while also racking up 48 tackles and 14 sacks, during his 2017 Junior campaign. I do not see Crouch moving to the offensive side of the ball this fall, but I believe there is a good chance that he could move to inside linebacker beside Henry To'oto'o this fall. He may even be a utility guy which would allow him to play multiple roles. If JJ Peterson does not emerge quickly in fall camp, there is a realistic chance Crouch lines up early and often with To'oto'o in the middle of the Tennessee defense. His versatility across the front-seven certainly makes him a player of intrigue on this list.
Jimmy Holiday started out the Spring at the quarterback position, but he is an explosive athlete who could play multiple roles. It seemed more likely for Holiday to stay at quarterback if the one-time transfer rule had passed, and natural attrition occurred at the position. Holiday is a guy who touches the 4.4 forty-yard dash range, and he is a guy that needs the ball in his hands. Why a long-term position change might not happen, I believe there is the chance we see Holiday all over the field for the falls this role, including some wide receiver looks to simply get him touches in space and create opportunities against opposing defenses. During the recruiting process, the Vols remained adamant with Holiday that they wanted him at Quarterback, and during a crucial in-home visit Jim Chaney unfolded how he sees him in Tennessee's offense. Holiday is open to being a multi-role guy, which only helps in the long run.
Tennesee signed a pair of potential bruising running backs in the 2020 class, and they round out this list. Tee Hodge and Len'neth Whitehead will both get their start in Knoxville, but will they remain there? Whitehead seems destined to be a future star at linebacker in the SEC, but he had major programs, including Wisconsin, who is known for their production with big backs recruiting him to the offensive side of the ball. Tennessee has a deep backfield this fall, and with questions at the inside linebacker spot, it seems optimal for him to get a look there. It is a similar scenario for Hodge, but of all the ones listed, I feel most confident about him sticking at running back. He has the capability of being a workhorse, much like he was at Maryville, but he is a dynamic athlete who could play linebacker if called upon. Tennessee pitched the position a couple of times early in the process, but he ended up signing as a running back. Depth again will factor into this, but remember, Al Wilson was a touted running back and linebacker coming out of high school, and we all know how it turned out for him, so anything is possible.