Tennessee's new look secondary in development this spring

On3 imageby:Brent Hubbs04/01/24

Brent_Hubbs

Tennessee Football's Jourdan Thomas Talks During Volunteer's April 1st Spring Practice I Volquest

Tennessee’s secondary is undergoing a complete overhaul after looking all five starters from a season ago. To help fill the holes Tennessee was active in the transfer portal landing three defensive backs in Jakobe Thomas, Jermod McCoy and Jalen McCurry

All three look to be in position to have immediate roles this fall. 

In addition to the transfers, there’s opportunity abound for returners Rickey Gibson, Andre Turrentine and Jourdan Thomas

For the newcomers, as well as the “veterans,” this spring is vital in their development individually and as a secondary. 

Newcomer to Tennessee and defense in general, Jermod McCoy detailed how playing wide receiver has now helped him in the transition to defense and the cornerback position.  

“I kind of had the option to play receiver coming out of high school [at Oregon State], but I just chose to play DB because everyone was telling me it was my ticket to get to where I want to be,” the transfer said. “It helped me learn wide receiver tendencies and keying on things like that. That helps me make play – juts knowing what’s going to come.”

Fellow new cornerback Jalen McMurray is all of a sudden the old head in the room despite being brand new to the program. There’s not a lot that he hasn’t encountered throughout his career, but there’s still an adjustment period for nay new guy.

“Fortunately for me, I’ve been able to play a little bit of football throughout my career,” the former Temple Owl explained. “I haven’t not seen a lot. Learning against an offense that goes this fast-paced. Being able to go against that every day in practice is something I’ve had to adjust to and something I feel like I’ve done well with.”

As for Gibson, who is one of just a few returners this spring who has seen playing time in the secondary, it’s all about confidence now in his second year in the system.

“The biggest difference is just my confidence. I feel like I can play more and play a little more physical – actually play with the guys now,” the sophomore said “When I first got out there, it was kind of going tooo fast. I would say I’ve locked in a little more, but my confidence is the biggest change from one year to now.”

Tennessee returns to the practice field Wednesday morning ahead of Thursday’s second scrimmage of the spring session.

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