Leading up to Tennessee's September 4 season opener against Georgia Tech, WBIR will be featuring 22 Vols in player profiles, giving you a chance to get to know them better off the field plus analysis on the players from Wes Rucker of govols247.com.

The senior linebacker for Tennessee, Cortez McDowell is slated to start at weakside for the Vols. With the injuries to Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Austin Smith, McDowell will have to pick up a leadership role in the middle of the defense. He was named one of four captains for Tennessee in the team's first game of the season.

Analysis from Wes Rucker of govols247.com

"Came in as a top 247 safety prospect. I think he's been one of the poster children under Rock Gullickson, the new strength coach. He's done a really nice job there. He's a guy who has sort of taken that position at weakside linebacker, which we thought might be a really big battle, and he's kind of taken ownership of it. I think he's a guy who could be a feel-good story, he could have a good senior season."