Tennessee loses its best offensive lineman

It was already going to be an uphill battle for Tennessee next season in the offensive line, and that's before the Vols lost Aaron Douglas.

The sophomore offensive tackle asked for his release Thursday and plans to transfer elsewhere. Douglas was the only returning starter up front for the Vols and earned Freshman All-America honors last season, his first year playing in the offensive line. Douglas was a star tight end in high school.

With Douglas gone, that almost certainly ensures that a couple of first-year players will be starting for Tennessee next season in the offensive line. True freshmen Ja'Wuan James and James Stone are both strong candidates to play right away. James is already enrolled and going through spring practice.

Redshirt freshman JerQuari Schofield and sophomore Dallas Thomas are two other players with little or no experience the Vols will need to step up in 2010.