HOOVER, AL (WAFF) - SEC Media Days kick off Monday at the Hyatt Regency Birmingham in Hoover, with the University of Tennessee the highlight of a day that also includes Arkansas and LSU.
All eyes will be on the Vols when coach Butch Jones takes the stage at 2:30 p.m.
Widely expected to win the SEC East in 2016, Tennessee started 5-0 last season but went on to drop four of their last seven. The Vols finished a disappointing 9-4, ending the season with a win over Nebraska in the Music City Bowl.
Jones is going to have to start strong again if he wants to avoid hot seat speculation. And he's going to have to do it with a new quarterback and five new coaching assistants, including offensive coordinator Larry Scott, who was brought in to replace Mike DeBord when he left for Indiana in January.
Three seniors will be joining Jones as player representatives, emerging leaders for a team that is returning none of the 2016 captains.
The first is Emmanuel Mosely, a senior DB who set new career highs in single game solo tackles last season, recording six or more solo tackles in six games. He is UT's most seasoned cornerback, with 39 games played and 19 starts. Mosely played in all 13 games in 2016, starting in 10.
Jashon Robertson, OL, has been an anchor of Tennessee's offensive line since starting all 13 games at right guard his freshman year in 2014 when he earned Freshman All-SEC and True Freshman All-American honors. The versatile and dependable lineman has played 39 games, with 35 starts in his college career.
And finally, there is redshirt senior Kendal Vickers. With 31 career games and 26 starts, the experienced DL has amassed 58 tackles (28 solo), 3 sacks, 7.6 tackles for loss and one forced fumble. Vickers is the only returning defenseman who started all 13 games last season.
Expect the quarterback competition that is heating up between junior Quinten Dormady and freshman Jarrett Guarantano, who both impressed this spring, to get a lot of attention from members of the media on-hand this afternoon.
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