Will Ignont impresses
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — One of the best abilities a Tennessee defender can have right now is availability.
Freshman linebacker Will Ignont came to the first two practices healthy and ready to play. He has impressed the coaching staff, according to defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.
“A guy who has really kind of flashed in the first two days is Will Ignont,” Shoop said on Sunday. “He’s always around the ball. He got his hands on a pass today and recovered a fumble yesterday. Those are kind of good things.”
Projected starter Darrin Kirkland Jr. began fall camp at less than 100 percent. Kirkland’s absence has allowed Ignont more reps.
Ignont, a former 4-star prospect according to 247Sports, might be in position to seize some playing time if his early play continues.
“We are giving all the young players reps, but Will is taking advantage,” Shoop said. “When someone gets hurt, that’s an opportunity for someone else. When someone’s not practicing or what have you, that’s an opportunity for someone else. Will has taken advantage.”
Shoop can already envision what linebacker position the 6-foot-1, 228-pound freshman will play in the future.
“He’s probably more of a Mike linebacker,” Shoop said. “I think his skill set lends itself to him being really good tackle-to-tackle and in the box. He’s got football IQ, he’s got really good football IQ. You don’t need to say things to him three and four and five times. He seems to grasp things pretty quickly.”
When will Darrin Kirkland return?
Coach Butch Jones said on Friday he expects Kirkland to be “full-go” by the second week of camp. So, Ignont might have only a few more opportunities to impress the coaching staff without Kirkland practicing.
Kirkland missed five games last season with a high ankle sprain. He sat out the Orange and White Game after suffering a hamstring injury in spring drills.
Ignont instilling confidence in the coaching staff shows the depth at linebacker for this fall has already grown.