KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee freshman cornerback Shawn Shamburger was one of few positives to come out of the Vols’ 45-7 loss at Alabama on Saturday.
Shamburger, making his first career start, led the team with 12 tackles and added a sack and a forced fumble (that was negated by a penalty) while providing very good coverage.
“He was forced to grow up,” Coach Butch Jones said. “Sham was out there and he did some really good things — things to build upon. He did some very good things and he’s competitive.”
Shamburger appeared to outplay senior Emmanuel Moseley, who started opposite of him with senior Justin Martin sidelined by an ankle injury.
Other true freshmen who saw significant action on defense were defensive ends Matthew Butler and Deandre Johnson, long with linebacker Will Ignont and safety Theo Jackson.
Redshirt freshman offensive lineman Ryan Johnson also saw significant snaps, and freshman Josh Palmer was back in receiver rotation at times.
Tennessee’s talented younger players are indeed looking well-seasoned and could provide a spark the second half of the year.
Redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano predicted a “magical” finish to the year, and it could start with new players like Shamburger appearing out of thin air.
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