Prospect Preview: Tennessee v. Appalachian State

Sep 12, 2015; Knoxville, TN, USA; Oklahoma Sooners quarterback Baker Mayfield (6) rushes against Tennessee Volunteers linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin (21) during the first overtime at Neyland Stadium. Oklahoma won 31-24. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin is one to watch.

The Tennessee Volunteers have been one of the most hyped teams this offseason by pundits from coast to coast. They are the trendy pick to win the SEC East and some have even wondered about their ability to challenge whoever comes out of the West in the title game. However, first they must get past a very tricky Sun Belt opponent in Appalachian State.

There are more than a few reasons why you shouldn’t laugh when you read that but the primary reasons are that this isn’t the App State team of old where they were an overly athletic but undersized FCS squad. Head Coach Scott Satterfield picked up right where legendary coach Jerry Moore left off and in just two years in the FBS App State has a record of 19-9, which included going 11-2 last year. App State is one of the most well coached, disciplined, and efficient teams in the country.

Also let’s not forget that they do have a history of pulling off historic upsets (Hi Michigan!!)…

On to the prospect watch lists:

2017 Prospects-
QB Joshua Dobbs (#7 QB)
TE Jason Croom (#NR)
OG Dylan Wiesman (#46 OG)
DE Corey Vereen (#35 DE)
DE LaTroy Lewis (#71 DE)
DT Danny O’Brien (#28 DT)
OLB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (#5 OLB)
CB Cameron Sutton (#4 CB)
CB Malik Foreman (#62 CB)

2018 Prospects-
RB Jalen Hurd (#8 RB)
RB Alvin Kamara (#32 RB)
RB Jayson Sparks (NR)
WR Josh Malone (#19 WR)
WR Josh Smith (#81 WR)
TE Ethan Wolf (#8 TE)
OT Brett Kendrick (#11 OT)
OG Jashon Roberston (#16 OG)
OC Coleman Thomas (#7 OC)
DE Derek Bernett (#4 DE)
DT Kendal Vickers (23 DT)
OLB Cortez McDowell (#23 OLB)
ILB Colton Jumper (#59 ILB)
CB Justin Martin (#21 CB)
CB Emmanuel Moseley (#52 CB)
FS Todd Kelly Jr. (#12 FS)
SS Evan Berry (#3 SS)
K Aaron Medley (#7 K)
P Trevor Daniel (#8 P)

Appalachian State
2017 Prospects –
RB Marcus Cox (#17 RB)
WR Jacquill Capel (#168 WR)
TE Barett Burns (#13 TE)
OG Parker Collins (#30 OG)
OG Jamie Collmar (#108 OG)
DE Nate Norwood (#78 DE)
DE Antonius Sims (NR)
DT Tyson Fernandez (#63 DT)
DT Darian Small (NR)
OLB Kennan Gilchrist (#43 OLB)
ILB John Law (#26 ILB)
CB Mondo Williams (NR)
SS Alex Gray (#33 SS)
P Bentlee Critcher (#25 P)

2018 Prospects –
QB Taylor Lamb (#36 QB)
RB Terrence Upshaw (NR)
WR Shaedon Meadows (#87 WR)
WR Zy Letman (NR)
OT Colby Gossett (#60 OT)
OG Beau Nunn (#97 OG)
OLB Devan Stringer (#76 OLB)
OLB Rashaad Townes (NR)
ILB Eric Boggs (#22 ILB)
CB Brandon Pickney (#90 CB)
SS AJ Howard (#38 SS)

Match-up to Watch: Appalachian State Offense v. Tennessee Defense
They #1 key to Appalachian State’s offensive game plan this week will be controlling the ball, running the clock, and limiting turnovers. That means that the Vols will get to see a heavy dose of RB Marcus Cox. The 5’10, 205 lbs. bowling ball has run for more than 1,400 yards in each of the last two seasons and has scored 28 TD’s. They key for the Vols stopping him will be through team defense and gap responsibility. Their DL is deep and talented but outside of star DE Derek Barnett no other player on the line has really stepped up and made a name for himself. We know that App State can block up front, so if Tennesaee can’t stop the holes from forming then watch for a cruise missile known as Jalen Reeves-Maybin to be the man tasked with stopping Cox. Reeves-Maybin will line up all over the field and he has more than enough speed to try and prevent Cox from getting to the corner in the open field. The goal for App State will be to get their OL to the 2nd level and create traffic for Reeves-Maybin to have to fight through.

This game isn’t all about App State’s rushing attack v. Tennessee’s rushing defense, there is also a very capable junior QB by the name of Taylor Lamb who App State will utilize to take advantage of Tennessee if they try and overload the box to stop Cox. Lamb’s passing stats may not wow you (2,387 yards, 60.1%, 31 TD’s, and 9 INT’s) but it is his quick release, accuracy, and ability to break the pocket and run that makes him so dangerous. However, if there is a singular strength for this Tennessee defense then it is their ability to play the pass. Tennessee could literally see their entire starting secondary get drafted in the next two drafts. CB Cameron Sutton leads that unit that will look to lock down an inexperienced set of App State WR’s.

Top Prospects: LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin and CB Cameron Sutton
I couldn’t pick just one top player to follow in this game because I think it is key that both of Reeves-Maybin and Sutton come out and dominate the game to substantiate some of their draft hype. At 6’0, 225 lbs. Reeves-Maybin needs to prove to NFL scouts that he can play in traffic, shed blocks, and get to the ball carrier. App State’s line may not have the same caliber talent as the SEC opponents he’ll see later this year, but they are just as well coached at their scheme and technique.

All prospect rankings are from CBS Sports/NFL Draft Scout, click here for the full list of rankings.

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4 Responses to “Prospect Preview: Tennessee v. Appalachian State”

  1. Jeff says:

    What about an Aaron Dobson and Justin Coleman for Paul Soliai (and maybe a late round pick) from Carolina? You could make room on the roster for an extra young corner and replace what you were hoping to get with Knighton with someone that can offer more than Kuhn. Dobson could succeed in Carolina’s passing attack, and they need corners, while they’re deep at DT right now.

    • GM-in-Training says:

      Pats are already deep at DT.
      What NFL team is deep at OT (or would like to shave a few million from their cap), and needs CB/WR/DT?

      • steve earle says:

        Agree with your thoughts here espically OT. Solder’s hamstring points out the need at that position once again. We’re getting dangeriously thin at OT.

    • steve earle says:

      Knighton was not what was expected but Johnson looks as though he can develope into a solid rotational guy for us. Valentine doesn’t look like a keeper either but before Bill starts trading we should wait and see what/who can be available on wavers because right now we have what appears to be a solid core up front so we would be looking only to upgrade depth I’m thinking.

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