KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Louisville graduate transfer Shaq Wiggins figured to play a role in the Tennessee secondary this season.
That hasn’t remotely been the case, but Wiggins’ role could change quickly as the Vols begin SEC play Saturday against Florida in Gainesville.
Vols defensive back Micah Abernathy made it clear Tuesday how important Wiggins becoming part of the secondary rotation will be moving forward.
“He’s getting adjusted to everything,” Abernathy said. “He’s going to be someone we are going to need this game and for the rest of the season. I’m seeing him mature a lot.”
Wiggins did not see the field in the season opener against Georgia Tech, and he played only a handful of snaps in the second half against Indiana State.
Wiggins injured his hip in fall camp, which has limited his practice time. The cornerback’s inability to get on the field to gain practice reps has kept him off the field during games, according to defensive backs coach Charlton Warren.
“The injury,” Warren said. “He’s a guy that was injured throughout fall camp. As you guys know, these last two offenses have been very, very different, from the triple option to unbalanced and jet-motion. If you don’t practice because you’re injured, it’s hard to get the details of what they do correct.”
Wiggins played in only eight games in his final season at Louisville. Missing time due to injury isn’t new to the 5-foot-10, 169-pound senior. He may have turned the corner, though.
“So, I think Shaq is well on his way to playing a lot for us,” Warren said. “Now that the injury bug is behind him and he can practice fully and not miss any time, I look for him to take the next step.”