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NFL scouts are "enamored" with Tennessee senior LB A.J. Johnson, according to NFL.com's Bucky Brooks.

Johnson entered this season having posted back-to-back 100-tackle seasons. "The impressive production matched a savvy game built on instincts, awareness and toughness," Brooks wrote. "Although his critics point to his inability to work free from blockers as a concern, the 6-foot-2, 245-pound senior has a knack for getting to the ball, and that will make him a favorite of NFL defensive coordinators searching for a hunter in the middle. Against Ole Miss, Johnson needs to show evaluators that he can be a factor as a defender in space, while chasing down Wallace on the perimeter on zone-read plays and designed quarterback runs." Johnson is "playing like a player with something to prove," an AFC West scout told NFL.com earlier this week. Johnson ranks amongst the FBS leaders with 41 solo tackles.
Source: NFL.com
Oct 17 - 6:28 PM

Tennessee senior LB A.J. Johnson "is playing like a player with something to prove," said an AFC West scout.

"He wants his name mentioned with the best in the country," the scout said. Johnson ranks amongst the FBS leaders with 41 solo tackles. "He has proven himself as a powerful, consistent tackler and reportedly received a mid-round draft grade last offseason before opting to return to the Vols," wrote NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah, Bucky Brooks and Charles Davis. "With a strong second half of the season, that decision to return will have been a good one."
Source: NFL.com
Oct 16 - 8:50 PM

Tennessee senior CB Justin Coleman had an interception in Saturday's win against Chattanooga.

He brought the pick back 53 yards. The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Coleman emerged as one of the school's defensive leaders last year, starting all 12 games. CBS Sports' Rob Rang likes his ability to play the slot in nickel situations.
Oct 12 - 5:59 PM

Tennessee senior LB A.J. Johnson had 17 tackles in Saturday's 35-32 loss to Georgia.

It was Johnson's 21st career game in which he recorded double-digit tackles. Despite the strong effort, CBS' Dane Brugler wrote that Johnson, "had too many wild angles, wasted steps and missed tackles vs. Georgia." He went on to say that the senior linebacker, "lacks the strength to disengage blocks and he isn't a sure-fire starter at the next level many thought he could be earlier in his career." According to Brugler, Johnson projects as a third-day prospect. Johnson has led the SEC with 324 tackles over the last three years and was named First Team All-SEC in 2013.
Source: CBS Sports
Sep 28 - 4:06 PM

Tennessee sophomore WR Marquez North caught four passes for 68 yards and two touchdowns in the school's 34-19 win over Arkansas State.

North is going to be a big time receiver prospect next season. Both of his receiving touchdowns took place inside the redzone, one for 10 yards and one for 14 yards. The Vols open the season with two wins.
Sep 6 - 6:02 PM

Tennessee senior LB A.J. Johnson is "not a workout warrior who’ll wow scouts with a great combine workout," writes TFY Draft Insider's Tony Pauline.

Pauline mentioned Johnson as a Week 1 draft "riser," writing: "Johnson was the catalyst of the Volunteers defensive domination over Utah State. During the Vols 31-point win the senior posted nine tackles, forced a fumble, broke up a pass then intercepted another in the fourth quarter which Tennessee translated into a score. Johnson’s not a workout warrior who’ll wow scouts with a great combine workout rather a tough, instinctive linebacker who’ll do well on the inside/middle of the defense." Over the last three years, Johnson led the SEC with 324 tackles; he earned First Team All-SEC honors in 2013. The Vols' prospect was given a mid-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee when he considered jumping to the pros over the winter.
Sep 4 - 3:52 PM

Tennessee redshirt senior LT Jacob Gilliam will miss the remainder of the season due to a torn ACL.

The Vols are starting an entirely new offensive line, and Gilliam will now need to be replaced on the left side. The former walk-on had never started a game until the season opener against Utah State.
Sep 2 - 12:28 PM

Workouts for NFL teams will be crucial for Tennessee senior RB Marlin Lane, according to CBS Sports' Rob Rang, because he doesn't show great explosiveness on film.

Lane finished with 539 rushing yards and three touchdowns (1,472 yards and eight scores over his career) while splitting carries with Rajion Neal last season. The Vols like to rotate backs, so Lane's usage won't suddenly spike in 2014. "Lane possesses a high-cut frame that belies his initial quickness to the hole," Rang wrote. "He isn't a punisher but is strong enough to break arm tackles. Workouts could be key for Lane, who doesn't show a great deal of explosiveness to pull away or out of his cuts." The 5-foot-11, 210-pound Lane runs a 4.59 forty.
Source: CBS Sports
Aug 25 - 6:18 PM

CBS Sports' Rob Rang notes that "nickel duties" could put Tennessee senior CB Justin Coleman "in position to make more plays, which could be key to his improving his draft stock."

The 5-foot-10, 190 pound Coleman, emerged as on of the leaders on the Vols'defense in 2013, starting in 21 games in a row, including all 12 in 2013. With 25 career starts on the outside, Coleman will have the opportunity to contribute inside at nickel, which "could benefit Coleman, a physical, alert tackler with 105 career stops," Rang notes.
Source: CBS Sports
Aug 25 - 11:26 AM

CBS Sports' Rob Rang believes if Tennessee redshirt junior S Brian Randolph "elects to give up his final year of eligibility, he could "surprise as the Vols' top NFL prospect in 2015."

"Randolph was overshadowed by Johnson a year ago and that may occur again in 2014. If the redshirt junior elects to give up his final year of eligibility, however, he could "surprise" as the Vols' top NFL prospect in 2015," Rang wrote. The 6-foot-0, 197 pound Randolph, led the Vols' with four interceptions with three pass breakups, 75 stops, and 50 solo tackles in 2013. The Vols' prospect rebounded nicely, after tearing his ACL in his right knee in the third game of his sophomore year.
Source: CBS Sports
Aug 25 - 11:06 AM

CBS Sports' Rob Rang believes Tennessee senior LB A.J. Johnson's "greatest skill is his heavy-hitting as a tackler."

"Perhaps Johnson's greatest skill is his heavy-hitting as a tackler. He has a nice closing burst to gather momentum and consistently delivers the emphatic pop that has no doubt helped him build his all-conference reputation, Rang wrote. Over the last three years, the Vols prospect has led the SEC with 324 career tackles, and earned First Team All-SEC honors in 2013. Johnson considered leaving for the NFL after last season, until he was given a mid-round grade from the NFL Advisory Committee. With a strong season this year, he has a chance to impress evaluators and improve his draft stock.
Source: CBS Sports
Aug 25 - 10:42 AM

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones named senior Justin Worley the team's starting QB.

Worley started seven games last season after starting none in 2012 but three as a freshman. As a junior, he likely would have finished 2013 as a starter but went down with a thumb injury that required surgery. Sophomore Joshua Dobbs and redshirt Nathan Peterman were also contending for a starting gig. Despite starting ten games in his career, Worley has only thrown 11 touchdowns and 13 interceptions. He has a great target in sophomore Marquez North.
Aug 14 - 3:09 PM

Tennessee HC Butch Jones said a starting QB might be named this week.

The Vols continued to rotate a number of quarterbacks last season without one taking a firm handle on the starting job. Senior Justin Worley, sophomore Joshua Dobbs and redshirt Nathan Peterman are just some of the possibilities.
Aug 11 - 12:57 PM

Former Tennessee redshirt freshman QB Riley Ferguson plans on transferring to UNC-Charlotte, according to CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler.

Fowler cites a source close to the Vols' program and adds the transfer should take place barring "any recent changes." Ferguson sat out his only season with Tennessee and would be eligible to play immediate for his hometown 49ers.
Jul 14 - 10:46 AM

2015 five-star DT recruit Kahlil McKenzie has committed to the Tennessee Volunteers.

Kahlil Mckenzie, the son of Oakland Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie, was one of the top defensive line prospects in the nation. McKenzie chose the Volunteers over fellow finalist Arizona on Thursday. The 6-foot-4, 341 pound recruit received offers from Alabama, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Florida, USC, Oregon and Texas, among others. Kahlil's dad Reggie played linebacker for the Volunteers from 1981-84, and his uncle Raleigh was the starting center for the Vol's from 1982-84. In 2015, McKenzie should have an opportunity to compete for playing time as a true freshman.
Source: NFL.com
Jul 11 - 12:47 PM


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