Just ask defensive coordinator Brent Venables, who recently told CUTigers he was as impressed with Tankersley as he was freshman phenom Mackensie Alexander during spring practice.
Venables was so impressed, in fact, he listed him as a starter opposite Alexander in the post-spring depth chart.
And he still holds that position as things stand today.
"He's done everything we have asked him to do," Venables said. "Everything. He's learned. He's a physical player. He doesn't back down to anyone."
Dabo Swinney has been leading the Tankersley parade lately too.
“I’ve been so impressed with his development,” Swinney said. "He’s been here one year, and the he thing that I love about him – he cares. You can see it all over him. He’s so coachable. He cares about doing his job. We need more guys like that.”
Tankersley said after Monday's practice the light started to come on when he truly started understanding the playbook.
"Honestly, I started taking things more seriously," he said. "I had the big eyes coming into the season so I wanted to get a feel for it. Once I got a feel for it I started competing and started trying to help the team in any kind of way."
His freshman year saw him record just 21 total defensive snaps, but he did manage to register nine special teams tackles.
As his playing time increased on special teams, so did his confidence.
This season, expectations are obviously much higher. Playing more as a boundary corner, Tankersley will have the spotlight on him starting in game one at Georgia.
In the short term, he continues to be pushed by a handful of corners behind him on the depth chart.
"Competition is tense right now," he said. "You got to go out every day and compete. And we are all young. Adrian Baker, Jadar Johnson and even Garry Peters. He's a veteran but he's competing as well and we're doing good. Just trying to get better."
And he also knows what lies ahead: Georgia.
If all goes according to plan, that could very well be his first career start.
"Every day I go to practice I try to take it as a game situation," he said. "So come Georgia I won't be as anxious or nervous. We know it's going to be live down there. But I'm up to the task."
Tankersley trending upward
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