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Tennessee linebacker Colton Jumper waits for the ball to be snapped during a punt drill during the Vols' practice on Aug. 21, 2015.

KNOXVILLE -- Former Baylor School standout Colton Jumper is listed as the starting middle linebacker on the two-deep depth chart Tennessee released Monday morning.

The sophomore walk-on edged out freshman Darrin Kirkland Jr., junior Kenny Bynum and others to earn the job this preseason.

'"It doesn't matter if you're a walk-on, first-year, second-year -- if you can play, you can play," cornerback Cameron Sutton said.

The Volunteers narrowed down the competition to Jumper and Kirkland last week, and it's likely both will play in Saturday's season opener against Bowling Green in Nashville.

Jumper was heading to play at Navy in 2013, but he wound up playing that fall at The Hun School in New Jersey before walking on with the Vols last spring. He played in one game last season.

The middle linebacker position, manned for Tennessee by A.J. Johnson the past three seasons, was one of the Vols' top preseason competitions.

Todd Kelly Jr. is listed as the starting safety in place of the injured LaDarrell McNeil, though fellow sophomore Evan Berry also may play.

On the offensive line, Coleman Thomas and Mack Crowder are listed as co-starters at center, with Thomas also listed as a co-starter at right tackle along with Brett Kendrick.

Freshman Jauan Jennings, a converted quarterback, is listed as a starter at wide receiver.

Preston to play?

Tennessee head coach Butch Jones said he expects freshman wide receiver Preston Williams to play in Saturday's opener.

Williams only became eligible on Thursday, and he's not been able to practice all month while he awaited word from the NCAA Eligibility Center after re-taking his standardized test.

Jones said Williams has done a good job of working out and conditioning on his own this preseason, and he said Williams's health, in terms of a percentage, was in the "mid-90s."

Tennessee tidbits

> Jones confirmed freshman wide receiver Vincent Perry will be out for the season after undergoing knee surgery on Friday.

> Receiver Jason Croom is expected to miss 3-5 weeks after undergoing surgery on Friday on the same knee in which he dislocated a kneecap in December.

> Jones estimated that Tennessee could play up to 22 true freshmen on Saturday. The Vols played 21 in the 2014 opener against Utah State.

> Jones on Bowling Green: "They know how to win, and they expect to win.'

> Freshman safety Stephen Griffin (ankle) has been cleared to return to practice after missing all but a week of preseason practices.

More coverage online and in Tuesday's Times Free Press.

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