Depth chart yields few surprises

Depth chart yields few surprises

There were very few surprises on Tennessee's depth chart as the Vols held Day 1 of spring football practice in helmets and shorts.

Chris Donald, who split time between defensive end and linebacker as a redshirt freshman last fall, begins the spring listed No. 3 at middle linebacker behind senior Ellix Wilson and sophomore Nick Reveiz. Donald, a 6-1, 225-pounder, was one of the most heralded members of UT's 2007 signing class.

DeAngelo Willingham, who started the last seven games of 2007 at cornerback and was listed as the No. 1 left corner on Tuesday's depth chart, will be taking snaps at another position for the time being.

"We will look at DeAngelo Willingham at safety the first five days of practice, then make a decision from there," head coach Phillip Fulmer said. "That is a position we are most concerned about going into the fall. We're going to take a good look at him. If he can make as much progress in spring, summer and two-a-days as he made the first fall he was here, I think he has a very good chance to make an impact on our football team at safety."

Minus four-year starter Jonathan Hefney, the first-team safeties are sophomores Dennis Rogan (free) and Eric Berry (strong). Rogan is backed by junior Demetrice Morley, a former starter back from a year in academic exile, while redshirt freshman Anthony Anderson is No. 2 behind Berry.

Sixth-year senior Antonio Gaines, who started the first two games of 2007 before suffering a season-ending knee injury, is listed No. 1 at right corner ahead of redshirt freeshman Art Evans. Brent Vinson, who started 10 games at corner last season, is sidelined by a shoulder problem. Marsalous Johnson, who started seven games at corner in '07, is still recovering from knee surgery.

Two players who split time between the offensive and defensive lines as redshirt freshmen last fall – Cody Pope and William Brimfield – appear to be locked in on offense this spring. Pope, a 6-6, 285-pounder, is listed No. 2 at left guard behind Vlad Richard. Brimfield, a 6-5, 320-pounder, is listed No. 2 at right tackle behind Ramon Foster.

With No. 1 center Josh McNeil sidelined by minor knee surgery, rising senior guard Anthony Parker is filling in with the first team at center.

Also sidelined this spring are redshirt freshman tailback Josh Hawkins (foot), linebacker Shane Reveiz (heart) and wide receiver Lucas Taylor (shoulder).

Sophomore defensive end Chris Walker injured himself lifting weights last week and probably will not participate until the Vols return to the practice field following spring break.

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