Tennessee Vols: Predictions For 2017 Season; Who Will Be UT’s MVP?

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 26: Micah Abernathy
NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 26: Micah Abernathy /
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Tennessee Vols
TAMPA, FL – JANUARY 1: Head coach Butch Jones against the Northwestern Wildcats during the Outback Bowl at Raymond James Stadium on January 1, 2016 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Mike Carlson/Getty Images) /

Which Freshman Will Make The Biggest Impact For The Vols?

The goal for any college football program is to play as few true freshmen as possible. But that isn’t always possible.

Tennessee has several talented true freshmen that could make an impact for the Volunteers in 2017.

Trey Smith, LaTrell Bumphus, Deandre Johnson and Ty Chandler are four players I think will see significant playing time this season.

Smith is almost guaranteed at this point to see a lot of playing time as a freshman — especially with Chance Hall’s injury that will prevent him from playing in 2017. Smith has the talent to be one of the best offensive linemen in the SEC and he will definitely get a chance to show that this season.

Chandler should get plenty of playing time as the likely number two running back on the depth chart behind John Kelly. If you’re a Vol fan, you want to see Chandler excel, but you don’t want to see him on the field too often because that means Kelly is either ineffective or injured.

Johnson will get a lot of playing time as a true freshman this season because the Vols don’t have a lot of depth at the defensive end position. I’d be cautious with my expectations here. Not every defensive end comes in and has a freshmen season like Derek Barnett. We can’t let that become the expectation.

The freshman I think will make the biggest impact in 2017, however, is LaTrell Bumphus.

Tennessee hasn’t had a star tight end during Jones’ tenure on Rocky Top.

Bumphus has the potential to be star. He’s fast, he’s physical and he has good hands. He’s basically everything you look for in a tight end.

He will have to fight his way up the depth chart, but sometimes it’s impossible to keep talent from rising.

I think Tennessee fans will be very pleased with Bumphus in 2017 (it does’t hurt that Larry Scott, a tight ends coach by trade, will be calling plays this season).