A look at Tennessee's biggest position need for 2016 and how the Volunteers are addressing it in recruiting:
Biggest need: Looking at Tennessee’s roster heading into 2016, there aren’t many “need” areas. It’s one of the main reasons so many people are picking the Volunteers as the favorite to win the SEC East next year. Still, the Volunteers could benefit from adding bodies in the secondary.
Both starting safeties -- Brian Randolph and LaDarrell McNeil -- have moved on, and while Todd Kelly Jr. and Evan Berry are more-than-capable replacements, who plays behind them? What happens if one or both of those players misses time due to injury? It’s time for Butch Jones to restock the cupboard.
As for cornerback, Tennessee received huge news when Cameron Sutton opted to return to school rather than leave early for the NFL. But his return means that Sutton, along with fellow senior CB Malik Foreman, will both be gone after next year. The other projected starter, Justin Martin, is a junior with just two years left to play.
The Volunteers need to start building for the future and find players who can come in and gain valuable experience so when their time comes, they’ll be ready.
It also won’t hurt to add more talent to a secondary that finished toward the bottom of the SEC in passing yards allowed per game (210.4) and passing touchdowns allowed (17). In just his fourth game, Florida freshman Will Grier threw for 283 yards and two touchdowns against this Tennessee defense. That type of lapse can’t happen if they want to win the East. -- Greg Ostendorf
Recruiting scoop: The Volunteers finished eighth in the SEC in passing defense and by losing both starting safeties this year and two corners next season, depth and early playing time certainly became the selling point for Tennessee with recruiting. The Volunteers added a commitment from the 79th-ranked player in the ESPN 300, Marquill Osborne and at 6-foot, 180-pounds the four-star prospect has the size and physical tools to be able to play early on in his career.
The Volunteers also took a dip in to the junior college ranks to land a commitment from three-star cornerback Desmond Henderson. The general rule with recruiting a junior college prospect is that they are usually counted on to play early because they don’t have all four years to play for the school they chose and that will be the case with Henderson. Tennessee also has a commitment from three-star cornerback Baylen Buchanan. -- Derek Tyson