HOOVER, Ala. —Although he won't be at SEC Media Days this week, Tennessee wide receiver Justin Hunter still should evoke a few questions since he is making a comeback from last season's knee injury, which knocked him out of the last nine games. His return is one of the main reasons the Vols could be much improved over last season's 5-7 team.
Senior cornerback Prentiss Waggner, who has been covering Hunter in offseason drills, has no doubt that Hunter is in top form.
"Right now, I'd say that Justin is 100 percent," Waggner said last Saturday. "He's got his weight up and he's doing 225 (pounds) multiple times (in the bench press). He thinks he's unstoppable.
"And he's got a pretty good argument."
The Waggner-Hunter match-up has been one of the highlights of the seven-on-seven drills, according to Waggner.
"If he catches a pass on me, the whole offense screams," Waggner said. "If I make a good defensive play, the whole defense screams."
Guard Duty: Senior offensive guard Dallas Thomas is still a tackle at heart, but he has gained a fondness for the new position he was assigned in the spring.
"(Guard) is a little easier," he said. "You're always helping somebody out. You're not alone one-on-one (like at tackle)."
Stone Solid: Thomas touts the summer work of fellow lineman James Stone, who opened the 2011 season as the Vols' starting center but eventually lost his spot to Alex Bullard because of wayward snaps.
"My man has been working on his snaps," Thomas said. "I can't wait to see what he does in the fall."
A natural left-hander, Stone finished his freshman season as UT's starting center. Then, coaches had him switch to his right hand last season as a sophomore. That didn't go well.
Thomas has noticed only the results this summer.
"I don't know if (the snaps) are left or right," he said. "But they're going back there perfect every time."
Stone ended spring practice in a close battle with Zach Fulton for a starting guard position. He also gives the Vols an experienced center behind Bullard, whose summer workouts have been affected by "personal issues," according to Dooley.
"(Stone) can play tackle, guard or center," Thomas said. "Whichever one they need him at, he can go."