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Butch Jones: Brendan Downs earned it

By Jordan Conigliaro, jconigliaro@wcyb.com
Published On: Jul 31 2013 05:18:23 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 31 2013 03:06:05 PM CDT

The Tennessee Volunteers start training camp Friday and there will be several positions up for grabs.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. -

The Tennessee Volunteers start training camp Friday and there will be several positions up for grabs.

Former Tennessee High Viking Brendan Downs has an edge on the competition at tight end. The Bristol native is listed as the starter.

"He's back to full strength," Jones told News 5 WCYB.

"We thought he was one of the most improved players we had in the spring, from the moment we started our standard periods, our morning workouts. Unfortunately his spring was cut short due to some injuries, but he's back and he earned that right to start off, rep number one at the tight ends."

Another former Tennessee High standout, center Mack Crowder, will be in the mix. The red-shirt sophomore is listed as the back-up center behind senior James Stone.

"We're one play away from having anybody from the second team on," Stone told News 5 WCYB.

"So we try to treat them just like they are going to be starters."

Former Dobyns-Bennett standout and 2012 News 5 WCYB High School Football Player of the Year Malik Foreman is listed as a back-up cornerback. This, before they even see the true freshman play.

"They just talk about his skill set and what the coaches think about him as a person," defensive back Brian Randolph told News 5 WCYB.

"He hasn't even had the opportunity to prove himself yet but they are pretty confident in what he can do."

The biggest position battle will come at quarterback. Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman will both be fighting to earn the starting spot when camp opens Friday.

"If someone comes in and distances themselves and really takes hold of this football team and is their leader we're going to name a starting quarterback," Jones said.

Tennessee opens the season Aug. 31 at home against Austin-Peay.