Of the 10 transfers added in Tennessee football, including two junior college players and eight players selected out of the gate, only two were very prestigious players in the recruiting track. Josh Heupel went for more specific needs than hype this year.
Ohio State Bucks transfer defensive linebacker Andre Turrentine was a unanimous four-star in 2021, and the broad receiver of the USC Pro McCoy transfer was a unanimous five-star in 2019. However, 247 Sportsman Will Backus named Turrentine as the most important transfer for Vols.
This comes despite the transfer of Wesley Walker from the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets who fulfills the same need as a defensive back and already has a wealth of playing experience over the past two years. Here’s why Bacchus made the most important football transfer in Turnain Tennessee.
Tennessee State is looking to make the leap into its second season under Josh Hubble. To do this, they urgently need to strengthen the defense. Adding a former Ohio State security Tornin gets some work done. First, Torrentin, who is likely to play nickels at the Falls, replaces one of his biggest defensive losses to Theo Jackson. Second, it frees other high school players, such as safety Trevon Flowers and outer corner Brandon Turing, to return to their normal positions after working in nickels to try to replace Jackson.
What Backus misses with this logic is the Vols, although in high school they have needs, they have players to replace them. Brandon Turing was the SEC’s best defensive player last season for them on his only start with Nickel.
As a result, Turrentine is still likely to compete for a backup role. His best shot is to become a regular starting quarterback with the departure of Alontay Taylor, but he has to compete with Kemal Haden and Warren Borrell. Let’s not forget that Walker could be Turnage’s main rival, too.
Simply put, while Turrentine fills a need and is very popular, it still holds a position with a lot of competition. McCoy joins a position that also has a lot of competition in the receiver, but it comes with a lot of hype.
Remember that Tennessee football has to replace two wide receivers, the hole position occupied by Philos Jones Jr. and the second wide against Cedric Tillman occupied by Jafonta Payton, for whom McCoy will launch. Some of his rivals could move into this slot role.
Also, McCoy has college level playing experience. In 2020, despite being a reserve, he had 21 passes for 236 yards and two touchdowns. Sure, he struggled to see the field after already moving from the Texas Longhorns and lost 2021 to an off-field problem, but the possibility is there.
With all of this in mind, McCoy has more hype than Torrentine, has more Torrentine experience at this level, and is going into a position with great need and no more competition than Torrentine. He’s one person Vol fans expect to start right away.
You can bring up the need to upgrade Vols in defense, but that’s exaggerated. The Heupel system will create situations where UT gives up a lot of points, and there’s no guarantee that Turrentine is the best option to slow that down.
None of this is to say Turnin wasn’t a big Tennessee football pick. In terms of the future, it may be even more important. This year, though, there’s clearly more hype behind McCoy, and Heupel needs a man like McCoy to make sure his bluff remains elite.