Vols fear players lost for season

Updated: August 8, 2010, 4:40 PM ET
By Chris Low | ESPN.com

Two projected starters on Tennessee's defensive line have been lost for what team officials fear will be the entire season after suffering Achilles tendon injuries two days apart this past week in practice.

Senior defensive end Ben Martin went down on Thursday with a torn Achilles, and sophomore defensive tackle Marlon Walls suffered a similar injury on Saturday.

The Vols entered preseason camp with good depth in their defensive line, but most of that depth was concentrated at end. The loss of Walls is particularly damaging.

Now, sophomore Montori Hughes is the only healthy player on the roster who's played any meaningful snaps at tackle in a college game.

Martin started in 11 games last season and recorded 3.5 sacks, but Tennessee has some depth at defensive end.

Gerald Williams is back for his senior season, while Malik Jackson transferred from Southern California and will be eligible to play this season. Also, the Vols think true freshmen Jacques Smith and Corey Miller will be immediate contributors at end. Both enrolled in school early and had impressive springs.

Chris Low covers SEC football for ESPN.

Chris Low | email

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