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Injury Updates, Personnel Notes Ahead of Alabama

See who is IN and who is OUT for Tennessee vs. Alabama

The Third Saturday in October still has the rivalry feel to it, but the results have been one-sided since Nick Saban arrived in Tuscaloosa. Tonight, Josh Heupel will get his first crack at the game's best coach, but he will be bringing a Tennessee team that is beleaguered with injuries and depth issues. We take a look at some injuries and personnel notes here, which can obviously change with several players expected to be evaluated closer to game time, as this is an unofficial injury report.

Personnel Notes

Josh Heupel noted earlier in the week that Dee Beckwith, who has yet to travel this year, will make the trip to Alabama, which likely means one of Jaylen Wright, Len'Neth Whitehead, or Marcus Pierce will not. Wright has been dealing with a toe injury for a couple of weeks, but he was expected to be back this week, so it is possible Tennessee utilizes this week as another week of rest ahead of next week's bye to ensure that Wright is ready to go for the home stretch, as he was the third back in the rotation to start the season.

We expect a couple of players to get their first start as a Vol tonight. We have heard a lot of buzz about Dayne Davis getting the start in place of the injured Cade Mays, and we continue to hear that Auburn transfer Kamal Hadden will get his first start after having a strong performance last week against Ole Miss in relief of multiple injured players in the secondary. In our opinion, the buzz will hold true for these two to get the early nod.

Injury Report

Hendon Hooker- Hooker is expected to start at quarterback for Tennessee. Last week's late-game injury gave Tennessee a scare, but one source indicates that Hooker has been dealing with a deep knee bruise for some time and the awkward landing late in the fourth quarter re-aggravated it. Hooker has been the difference for Tennessee, so it is important for him to be able to go if he is healthy enough. He has not been on crutches or in a boot any this week, and we believe that he has practiced more than Josh Heupel has alluded during the week.

Cooper Mays - Mays left the Bowling Green game dinged up with an ankle injury. It sidelined him for two weeks before making a return against Florida. Mays left that game in obvious pain from the ankle and had an apparent injury to his hand to go along with it. Mays returned to the sidelines last week and was available, but he did not play. We will see if that changes tonight as Mays has continued to have positive progress and appears to be much closer to resuming his role.

Cade Mays- Mays left last week's game with an apparent lower leg injury. He was in a walking boot shortly after the injury but continued to progress through the week. It is safe to say that his status remains doubtful for tonight, as Tennessee will look to have him as healthy as possible before the second half of the season. Mays was in obvious pain last week, and after working out on the exercise bike for a short duration, he did not leave the bench area for the rest of the night. Heupel has said that Cade is "day-to-day", but in our opinion, it is not likely to see him early on, which puts Tennessee at a serious disadvantage in terms of tackle depth. Update, Mays is officially out for tonight.

Alontae Taylor- Taylor suffered a couple of different injuries last week against Ole Miss that pushed him to the sidelines at various times, but they do not appear to be serious. His status for tonight has not appeared to be in question, but it is still worth monitoring, in our opinion.

Juwan Mitchell (OUT)- Mitchell is out for the season following a season-ending shoulder surgery earlier in the week.

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Warren Burrell- Burrell left last week's game with an unknown injury, and we are monitoring his status tonight. He was not seen in warmups, but he is not listed as inactive. As we mentioned earlier in the day, we do know Kamal Hadden is set to get his first start, which certainly leaves Burrell's status in doubt.

Kingston Harris- Harris has been sidelined following an injury sustained against Tennessee Tech that resulted in a knee scope. He is not lost for the season, but his status has been in doubt. He is not expected to be available today. Update- Harris is officially out.

Tiyon Evans - Evans made progress all week last week ahead of Saturday's contest against Ole Miss, and he believed that he would be able to play, but after working out in pre-game, he was ruled out. Today should be another similar situation, where Evans will be a game-time decision. He struggled with being able to cut and push off last weekend, but he has had another week of positive progress. Update- Evans is going through warmups and is listed as active by Tennessee for tonight.

Christian Charles  - Charles left the first start of his career against Missouri with an upper-body injury, and he has been sidelined for the last two weeks. His status remains in question ahead of Alabama, as there has not been a lot of chatter there. Charles is not available today. 

Elijah Simmons - Simmons tweaked his knee against Florida, and he did not make an appearance until later in the game against Missouri, which resulted in him once again leaving the contest. Simmons has frequently been the starter at nose tackle, and it appears that he is closer to making a return, but it does not appear he is available tonight as he has yet to be seen in warmups. Update- Simmons is out for tonight's game.

Doneiko Slaughter - Slaughter has missed back-to-back weeks for undisclosed reasons, but there is some optimism that he will be able to return to the rotation this week, as he has been a bright spot for Tennessee when healthy.

Jaylen Wright - As mentioned above, Wright has been dealing with a toe injury that has sidelined him for the past couple of weeks, but a source close to the situation has indicated that he has made plenty of progress and could go tonight, but it remains to be seen which running backs Tennessee will travel, with Dee Beckwith making the travel roster.

Len'Neth Whitehead- The second-year running back is unavailable for tonight's contest due to undisclosed reasons.

Kaemen Marley/Trinity Bell (OUT)- Bell and Marley have been limited since the preseason. Marley is dealing with a hand injury while Bell is rehabbing an ACL injury sustained in the winter. Both freshmen continue to make progress.

K'Rojhn Calbert (OUT)- Calbert is sidelined with a serious bicep injury, but Josh Heupel indicates that he could return later in the season.