Projected starter: sophomore Tyler Bray.

The rest: senior Matt Simms, freshman Justin Worley, freshman Nash Nance and sophomore Doak Raulston.

Looking ahead: What a difference a year makes. This time last year, the quarterback position was one of the biggest question marks. But Bray's play down the stretch last season gave UT fans hope for the next couple of seasons. Having a veteran like Simms, who has quality SEC experience, as a back-up can go a long way. Worley was the high school Gatorade National Player of the Year last year and could challenge Simms for the No. 2 spot.

Running back:

Projected starter: senior Tauren Poole.

The rest: sophomore Rajion Neal, sophomore Toney Williams, freshman Marlin Lane and freshman Tom Smith.

Looking ahead: The Vols should have quality depth in its backfield, despite the transfer of David Oku. Poole ran for more than 1,000 yards last season, an impressive feat in the SEC. Neal finished the season as the team's No. 2 back, but Williams could challenge for that spot if he gets back to running the way he did two spring practices ago, before tearing his ACL. Lane, an incoming freshman, will also be two years removed from a knee injury that kept him from being rated among the nation's elite high-school tailbacks. Smith is a powerful, bruising back who could be called upon to get tough yards.


Projected starter: sophomore Channing Fugate.

The rest: N/A

Looking ahead: Coach Derek Dooley and offensive coordinator Jim Chaney's offensive philosophy leans toward tight ends over fullbacks, but Fugate impressed coaches enough for them to put him on the field. Fugate started the final five games last season and could line up in the backfield at fullback, H-back or as a tight end in some sets.

Wide receiver:

Projected starter: sophomore Justin Hunter, sophomore Da'Rick Rogers, junior Zach Rogers.

The rest: freshman Vincent Dallas, freshman DeAnthony Arnett, junior DeMario Williams, sophomore Matt Milton.

Looking ahead: Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers burst onto the scene in fall camp last season with their talents. Hunter adjusted to the college game a little bit faster and caught a school freshman-record seven touchdown passes. The duo have the potential to be as good as any in "Wide Receiver U" history. Still, combined they caught just 27 passes, a far cry from the 102 receptions for 1,577 yards and 13 touchdowns departed seniors Gerald Jones and Denarius Moore had. UT fans are hoping Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers' potential can match the production of Jones and Moore. Zach Rogers has been buried on the depth chart for his first two seasons in Knoxville but filled in nicely in the slot last year while Jones was out with a broken hand.

Tight end:

Projected starter: senior Mychal Rivera.

The rest: freshman Cameron Clear, freshman Brendan Downs, junior Ben Bartholomew.

Looking ahead: Replacing Luke Stocker, a projected early round pick in April's NFL Draft, won't be easy. Stocker wasn't the flashiest, but he may have been the best all-around tight end in the country last season. Rivera was a junior-college transfer last year and had 11 catches for 112 yards. Downs enrolled in school in January and will participate in spring practice, a big help. Clear was regarded as one of the state's top prospects and will begin his UT career at tight end but may eventually grow into a tackle.


Projected starter: junior Dallas Thomas (LT), sophomore Ja'Wuan James (RT).

The rest: freshman Antonio Richardson, freshman Marques Pair, sophomore Daniel Hood, freshman Alan Posey.

Looking ahead: Thomas and James took their fair share of lumps last season as starters for the first time. Thomas played the all-important left tackle position, protecting the quarterback's blind side. James was an early enrollee a year ago and started from day one. Both should be improved this upcoming season, but if Antonio "Tiny" Richardson (6-6, 310) is as good as advertised, he could see the field sooner rather than later.


Projected starter: sophomore JerQuari Schofield (LG), sophomore Zach Fulton (RG).

The rest: freshman Marcus Jackson, sophomore Alex Bullard, freshman Kyler Kerbyson, junior Carson Anderson.

Looking ahead: While Dallas Thomas and Ja'Wuan James each started all 13 games at tackle last season, Schofield and Fulton started 12 games. Schofield never fully recovered from a broken foot he suffered midway through the year, while Fulton started the team's final four games. Jackson and Kerbyson should provide depth in the two-deep, and Notre Dame transfer Alex Bullard will eventually, but must have a waiver approved by the NCAA to be eligible this fall.


Projected starter: sophomore James Stone.

The rest: freshman Mack Crowder, junior Darin Gooch.

Looking ahead: Stone was moved to center for the first time in his playing career midway through last season. Stone's intelligence allowed him to slide inside and make the line calls a center is required to do. However, he is left-handed and had an unorthidox snap, causing coaches to caution starting him before the Memphis game. Crowder, another early enrollee, played center in high school and is a natural at the postion. Gooch started six games last season and will also help provide depth.

—Matt Dixon is a senior in journalism and electronic media. He can be reached at and followed on twitter at