Key Returners Make Rebuild easier

Tennessee needs to land more than a dozen key prospects to lay claim to a top 20 recruiting class, but the Vols managed to dodge some bullets in keeping key personnel from pursing the NFL draft.

      Offensive lineman Rob Smith is going pro, but offensive lineman Arron Sears, defensive linemen Justin Harrell, Turk McBride and Tony McDaniel will return. That was imperative if the Vols want to make a quick turnaround from a disastrous 5-6 season.

      Sears, an All-SEC player, is the lone returning starter on the offensive line. He will get help up front from Ramon Foster, David Ligon, Anthony Parker and Eric Young.

      Two redshirt linemen – Chris Scott and Josh McNeil – might also work their way into the blocking equation.

      If Harrell had not returned, the Vols would have lost their entire starting front seven. Harrell, an All-SEC talent who could play his way into being a first-round draft pick, is a solid foundation around which to build. McBride, who has split his time between end and tackle, figures to play end this season. McDaniel likely will start alongside Harrell.

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