The Tennessee Vols‘ defense lost a couple of its biggest leaders from last season to the 2022 NFL Draft.

Defensive backs Alontae Taylor and Theo Jackson proved to be key leaders for the Vols last year. But both players are now in the NFL (Taylor with the New Orleans Saints and Jackson with the Tennessee Titans), leaving the Vols with a void in leadership.

Fortunately for Tennessee, it sounds like a couple of players are stepping up to fill those vacant leadership roles.

Vols wide receiver Cedric Tillman told reporters at SEC Media Days in Atlanta this week that senior defensive backs Trevon Flowers and Jaylen McCollough are the leaders of Tennessee’s defense.

Tennessee Vols
Tennessee defensive back Trevon Flowers (1) during warmups before a football game against South Alabama at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021.
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“Those two (McCollough and Flowers) are the defensive leaders of the team,” said Tillman. “Those two guys are very vocal. Not just the defense, the offense follows those guys, too.”

“They’re the loudmouths on the team, especially Tre, but in a good way. He’s (Flowers) a competitor. Jaylen’s a competitor, too. Those guys are great leaders for us. I’m excited [to see] what they do this year.”

On-field leadership is one of the most important factors that goes into whether or not a team is successful. Losing Taylor and Jackson was obviously a big blow for the Vols, but it sounds like Tennessee has found a couple of more than capable leaders in Flowers and McCollough.

Featured image via Saul Young/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK