KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s physical spring football session is taking a toll, with two projected defensive starters banged up in the past week.
Senior safety Todd Kelly Jr. appeared to get his right ankle twisted in Thursday’s Circle of Life drill, which would explain why a walk-on was used in the secondary in Saturday’s scrimmage.
Kelly Jr. dealt with an ankle injury last November as well, though it’s not known if this is the same ankle injury he played through last season.
Also on Saturday, a source with knowledge of the scrimmage said defensive end Jonathan Kongbo suffered a knee injury preliminarily diagnosed as a sprain.
Kongbo has been one of the top performers in the offseason and into spring drills.
Vols coach Butch Jones will meet with media on Tuesday and is expected to provide an update on the injuries.
Tennessee has needed as much physical work as possible, as the Vols are looking to set a blue-collar tone and develop young players as quickly as possible.
Jones has been careful measuring the repetitions of each player, but injuries are a part of every offseason for each program, and all coaches can do is look to minimize them.
Defensive coordinator Bob Shoop told ESPN’s Chris Low on a Sunday night WNML radio show that none of the nicked up players injuries are expected to be serious.
“In the scrimmage with our first unit defense we had a couple walk-ons playing at the safety position,” Shoop said on the radio show per a 247Sports report. “We had an early-enrollee freshman playing defensive end when we had some injuries.
“Everything the training staff told me is that the players that were nicked up yesterday are going to be fine and we’ll be ready to rock and roll.”
Tennessee is nine practices through the 15 it’s allowed for spring drills with the 10th scheduled for Tuesday.
The Vols conclude spring practice on Saturday, April 22, with the annual Orange and White Game at Neyland Stadium.