The Monday Mailbag

Welcome to another edition of the weekly Monday Mailbag. You ask the questions, we answer them, you smile and nod your head.

Who do you see as of today as our starting offensive line September 1? Any likely changes by October 15? — novol

As of right now, the presumed starting five would be: left tackle Kyler Kerbyson, left guard Marcus Jackson, center Mack Crowder, right guard Jashon Robertson and right tackle Brett Kendrick. Those are the guys who ended spring practice running with the first team, but there’s plenty of time for things to change come October 15. Dontavius Blair, who appears to be the most physically gifted of all the offensive linemen, will push for a starting spot due to his high ceiling. Scout four-star Drew Richmond, a 6-foot-5, 320-pound vending machine on skates, also joins the mix this fall and will surely compete for playing time at tackle. Coleman Thomas expects to push Mack Crowder at the center position, and that’s an intriguing competition to keep your eye on when fall camp begins. The coaching staff wants consistency here, so finding the right rotation and keeping them in place is crucial in developing chemistry and comfort for a unit that struggled in 2014.

What do you foresee as Curt Maggitt's role this season? DE only, or some DE and some LB? — maurycountytn18

Tennessee defensive end/linebacker Curt Maggitt
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)
The good thing about Curt Maggitt is that you could line him up at punter and I would still run away. The 6-foot-3, 246-pound hybrid defensive lineman/linebacker is expected to see playing time at both positions this fall, and that’s bad news for whoever is lining up against him. When Tennessee is in the 4-2-5, Maggitt will likely line up off the edge as a defensive end. In the 4-3, conventional wisdom says he’ll be a linebacker with an expertise in making the quarterback wet himself upon eye contact. Getting Maggitt, who acts as the heart of the defense, back and healthy for fall camp is paramount for this year’s Tennessee team. His production coupled with that of Derek Barnett and incoming freshman Kahlil McKenzie makes this defensive line one of the most imposing presences in college football.

How is the wide receiver position coming along with trying to get healthy? — TuckerVol

The summer months are critical for rest and recovery, and the wide receiving corps is steadily healing itself after collectively getting more banged up than the Bluesmobile. Preston Williams is on campus and rehabilitating from a gruesome ACL injury last winter. He’s by no means 100 percent, but there have been no reported setbacks as of yet. Marquez North nursed injuries in the spring and will take the summer to heal as well. Josh Smith came back in spring practice and showed improvement, although coaches were quick to admit he’s still not himself after being forced to shut his season down last year with an ankle injury. The receiving corps might seem like one big band-aid right now, but be patient and know it is recovering.

Dormady, Jones or Guarantano. Which one will be the true successor of Josh Dobbs? — Notorious NIC

Now this? This is my kind of question. The kind where I, a nobody with a computer stained in Cheez Whiz and Frito crumbs, attempts to predict the future AND analyze future worth of quarterbacks whom all could beat me in anything but a pie eating contest. Quinten Dormady flashed his brilliant accuracy in the spring and has firmly taken the reins of the No. 2 QB spot on the roster right now. He’s got the arm to be a monster in the SEC. Sheriron Jones was one of the most sought after dual threat quarterbacks in the 2015 class. He possesses amazing short-area quickness and uses it to buy time and make his progressions without overly relying on his speed to bail him out. But Jarrett Guarantano is the crown jewel to Vols fans at the moment, and I’ll agree with them in saying he’s the next man up. Scout recruiting analyst Brian Dohn has been watching Guarantano since he was in eighth grade and told IT he thinks the newest Vol commit under center could be Butch Jones' dream QB. “He’s a kid that can put the ball down and run with it and pick up yards. He’s a legit 4.5-4.6 (40-yard-dash) kid,” Dohn said. “He’s big, he’s got a big arm. His accuracy is good. He can throw on the run. He’s comfortable in the pocket … When you look at what Butch Jones wants in a quarterback, this is the kid.”

I would like to know who would win an arm wrestling match between (InsideTennessee managing editor) Danny Parker and Kahlil McKenzie. — NorthBamaVol

Kahlil McKenzie is 6-foot-3, 341 pounds. Danny is not. Don’t get me wrong. Danny’s got the willpower to put up a fight, but I can only see this scenario ending with me duct taping his wrist back onto his arm.

Thanks for all your questions this week. If we didn’t get to yours know it will be featured in the coming weeks. To send a question, email cory.a.gunkel@gmail.com, tweet @CoryGunkel, post on the InsideTennessee message boards or yell really loud.


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