Tennessee's strength at the wideout and defensive back positions is so obvious that the folks at Lindy's even noticed it. In their annual College Football Preview they rank Tennessee's receiver corps seventh nationally and the Vol secondary troops sixth nationally.
Interestingly enough, Tennessee is not the highest-ranked SEC team in either category. Florida is ranked No. 6 among receiver corps, while both South Carolina (No. 3) and Mississippi State (No. 5) are rated higher than the Vols in terms of secondary talent.
Lindy's top 10 receiver corps, in order, are:
2. Texas Tech
4. Ohio State
10. Ball State
Here's what the magazine has to say about the Big Orange wideout brigade:
Lindy's top 10 secondary groups, in order, are:
1. Southern Cal
2. Ohio State
3. South Carolina
5. Mississippi State
8. Oregon State
10. Arizona State
Here's what Lindy's has to say about the Vol secondary:
"This will be one of the most improved secondaries in the country, boosted by the return of athletic safety Demetrice Morley (academics) and cornerback Antonio Gaines (injury). They'll be sidekicks to sophomore safety Eric Berry, who picked off five interceptions and returned them 222 yards last year."
Tennessee's blocking front is not ranked among the top 10 offensive lines, even though the Vols return four starters from a unit that allowed an NCAA-best four sacks last season. Also, Daniel Lincoln is not ranked among the top 10 kickers, even though he earned All-America honors from the Football Writers Association of America as a freshman last season after nailing 21 of 29 field-goal tries.