KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Shy Tuttle’s freshman year ended abruptly after the former 4-star recruit broke his leg on a nasty block in Tennessee’s win over Georgia last season.
While the recovery process has been long and hard, the 6-foot-2, 310-pound defensive tackle has continued to exhibit improvement in mobility and conditioning late in preseason practices. A month ago, it was a longshot Shuttle would even sniff the field in Tennessee’s season-opener.
Could Shuttle actually see a few snaps against Appalachian State next Thursday?
“Shy continues to be a work in progress,” Vols coach Butch Jones said Tuesday.
“Is he game-ready yet? We’ll see. He’s not game-ready right now, but we don’t play until (next Thursday). He still has a lot of time, but he has made progress. I think he’s right on schedule. He’s right on schedule with where we’d thought he’d be. He’s doing everything we asked of him. He’s been very, very committed to the recovery process. He’s on schedule, so we’ll see in the next week.”
Tennessee is rather thin at defensive tackle, so adding a productive player who recorded 10 tackles and blocked a field goal in an abbreviated rookie season would really help.
“Shy has come a long way,” defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said, adding he hopes Tuttle plays in the opener.
“His conditioning is getting better all the time. He’s started to go through some scout periods and things like that. We’re excited.”
Fellow sophomore defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie echoed Shoop’s sentiments, saying, “Shy is going to help us out a lot this season. Being able to see him run around has been great to see. Shy, man that’s my guy.”
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com