The Tennessee football team will be missing some key pieces on both sides of the ball during spring practice in 2017.
Eight different Volunteers will miss all of spring ball due to injuries this year, according to SEC Country’s Mike Griffith: OL Brett Kendrick (ankle), WR Josh Smith (undisclosed), WR Brandon Johnson (shoulder), DE Kyle Phillips (shoulder), DT Kendal Vickers (shoulder), DT Shy Tuttle (knee), S Micah Abernathy (shoulder) and S Rashaan Gaulden (undisclosed).
Losing those three defensive linemen may be the biggest hit among these injuries. Tuttle was already expected to miss at least spring after having knee surgery. However, Phillips and Vickers were supposed to be limited. Two other defensive linemen left the program earlier this spring, and Tennessee already had to replace All-American DE Derek Barnett.
The Vols will need young players to step up on the defensive line and at safety to make up for the absence of multiple likely starters.
On the offensive line, Kendrick is recovering from surgery after playing part of last season with multiple torn ligaments in his ankle. Johnson and Abernathy were previously expected to be limited during spring practice.
A few other players are expected to participate in practice on a limited basis this spring, including OT Chase Hall, LB Quart’e Sapp and DB Stephen Griffin.
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