Of course, given how awful Tennessee's cornerback play was last fall, that may not be a bad thing.
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Despite the mass exodus, Tennessee returns two corners with a combined 17 career starts – juniors Justin Coleman (13) and Jaron Toney (4). Coleman got four starts in 2011 and nine in 2012. Toney, a former walk-on tailback, got all four of his starts at nickel back last fall, when the Vols played most of the season with five DBs on the field. If they'd been allowed to use five more they might have been able to bat down an occasional pass.
Even if Jones is 100 percent by the opener, Tennessee's depth at corner is non-existent. The only other scholarship cornerback is fifth-year senior Nyshier Oliver (5-feet-10, 179 pounds). He was so deep in Derek Dooley's doghouse last fall that he only played in the finale against Kentucky, when Dooley stepped aside and let Jim Chaney call the shots.
An intriguing prospect is redshirt freshman walk-on Michael F. Williams, a 5-foot-11, 165-pounder who played football in high school but decided to attend the University of Maryland on a track scholarship. He left after one year in hopes of making an impact on Tennessee's secondary this fall. Another option is sophomore walk-on Max Arnold (5-feet-11, 186 pounds), who returned an interception 62 yards for a touchdown in the Orange & White Game.
The fact three of Tennessee's top six cornerbacks are walk-ons should tell you two things:
One, Tennessee's depth at cornerback is perilously thin.
Two, incoming freshmen Malik Foreman (5-feet-10, 175 pounds) of Kingsport and Cameron Sutton (6-feet-1, 170 pounds) of Jonesboro, Ga., had better be ready to help when the Vols take the field against Austin Peay on Aug. 31.