The Tennessee Volunteers return 10 starters from last year’s team. The only missing starter is Drew Richmond who transferred to play at USC in 2019. In addition to the large amount of returnees, the Vols also added two five-star offensive linemen in Darnell Wright and Wanya Morris. The Vols look to avoid another 5-7 season and turn around a program that has struggled the last couple of years. The offense will play a large role in Tennessee competing in the SEC East and reaching a bowl game. Let’s take a look at the Tennessee Vols projected starting offense for the 2019 season opener.
Tennessee Vols Projected Starting Offense
QB: Jarrett Guarantano (RS Jr.)
Jarrett Guarantano showed poise and toughness throughout the 2018 season. Despite a less than par offensive line, Guarantano threw for nearly 2,000 yards and had a third down quarterback rating of 82.3 which led the SEC. He managed to throw for a career-high 328 yards against a solid Auburn defense in route to Tennessee’s first SEC win in nearly two seasons. Heading into the 2019 season, the Vols offensive line will be more talented after adding two five-stars and will be much more experienced. Entering his junior season and first with an elite offensive coordinator Jim Chaney, Guarantano is due for a breakout season.
RB: Ty Chandler (Jr.)
Ty Chandler had a productive sophomore season as he averaged five-and-a-half yards per carry and 10 yards per reception to go along with seven touchdowns. The downside to those numbers was that he did not get nearly enough touches. Like 2018, Tennessee’s backfield will be crowded. Tennessee returns Tim Jordan, Jeremy Banks and Carlin Fils-Aime while also adding four-star Eric Gray. Chandler’s production and experience will allow him to start but he will continue to see split time with his fellow backs.
WR1: Marquez Callaway (Sr.)
Marquez Callaway led the Vols in 2018 with 37 receptions for 592 yards. Heading into a senior season, Callaway looks to improve his draft stock and become an above-average wideout for Tennessee. First-year receivers coach, Tee Martin, told local reporters that he has seen Callaway improve his speed and route running ability drastically over the past summer. If the offensive line can protect Guarantano, Marquez Callaway could have a massive 2019 season.
WR2: Jauan Jennings (RS Sr.)
Jauan Jennings had a solid season in 2018. He had 30 receptions for 438 yards but battled nagging injuries all season. During summer workouts, Jennings suffered a knee injury that required surgery. However, according to the Vols’ coaching staff, Jennings has been practicing and expects to be ready for the season opener against Georgia State on August 31st. Jennings adds swagger and talent to the receiving group and that should continue to increase in 2019.
WR 3: Josh Palmer (Jr.)
Josh Palmer is almost a clone of teammate Marquez Callaway. With nearly identical size and speed, the duo makes it difficult for any defense. Of all the Volunteer receivers, Palmer may have the highest ceiling. With 23 catches and 484 yards, he led the SEC and was fifth in the nation with 21 yards per reception. He also led the Tennessee offense with 10 20-yard or more plays in 2018. The only thing holding Josh Palmer back is the talent and experience of the two receivers ahead of him on the depth chart.
TE: Dominick Wood-Anderson (Sr.)
Wood-Anderson had an efficient first season with the Vols when he got an opportunity. However, Tyson Helton’s offense did not seem to be very tight end friendly despite Anderson’s 6’4”, 257 lbs. frame. New offensive coordinator Jim Chaney has a history of producing talented tight ends such as Mychal Rivera and Isaac Nauta. Wood-Anderson should see more touches, especially in the red zone and on short yardage plays, this season.
LT: Marcus Tatum (RS Jr.)
Tatum started the last five games at left tackle last season. He continues to fill out as he is now at 316 pounds, up from his freshman season where he weighed in at 265. Expect the redshirt junior to begin the season as the Vols’ starting left tackle.
LG: Trey Smith (Jr.) or Jamir Johnson (Jr.)
Trey Smith, the former five-star recruit, is the most talented linemen on the roster. However, his health could cost him a few games in 2019 if he is not cleared to play. In 2018, Jamir Johnson started 11 games for the Vols at left guard. After an off-season where Johnson added 15 pounds, he should continue to see quality playing time. Johnson’s starting position is heavily contingent on Trey Smith’s health and availability as the regular season approaches.
C: Brandon Kennedy (RS Sr.)
The former Alabama transfer looks to open the season as the starter for the second straight season. Following the first game of 2018, Kennedy tore his ACL causing him to miss the rest of the season. After a full season and off-season to recover, Kennedy will be back at full health and ready to lead the offensive line.
RG: K’Rojhn Calbert (RS So.)
Calbert appeared in 10 games last season as the Tennessee offense battled numerous injuries up front. At 330 pounds, Calbert has the build and frame that Jim Chaney loves to see in his linemen. Calbert’s emergence this spring caught fans by surprise but it is likely that Calbert could be named opening day starter.
RT: Wanya Morris (Fr.)
The five-star true freshman enrolled this spring and hit the ground running. Not long after spring practice began, Morris started working with the first-team offense. However, Morris did struggle during the Orange and White game where he played left tackle. Look for the coaching staff to give Morris an opportunity to prove himself at the right tackle position.