KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Can Tennessee football make it three straight Top 25 seasons?
Athlon Sports’ preseason football magazine believes so, even though it was quick to point out Coach Butch Jones has several challenges ahead in his fifth year as head coach.
One of the nation’s premier annuals, Athlon Sports preseason football magazines are due out on newsstands today, May 23.
The schedule is once again one of the most difficult in the nation, with cross-division games including a trip to Alabama and a November home date with talented LSU.
The Vols play at Florida this season, too, in a game that would better serve the SEC if played in November.
Tennessee had six players drafted into the NFL, including three-year starting QB Josh Dobbs and Vols’ all-time sacks leader Derek Barnett.
That will put the onus on players like junior defensive tackle Kahlil Mckenzie and redshirt sophomore offensive tackle Drew Richmond to live up to their lofty Top 100 recruit rankings.
Jones, after taking over a troubled program on probation that had gone 2-14 vs. the SEC in 2011-12, has delivered the first back-to-back Top 25 seasons at Tennessee in 10 years and the first 3-year bowl win streak in 20 years.
The Vols also posted a program record APR rate this past season, Jones first complete cycle of recruits.