Knoxville, TN - linebacker A.J. Johnson #45 of the Tennessee Volunteers during the game between the University of Tennessee Volunteers and the University of Florida Gators at Neyland Stadium. Photo by Ruth Tedrick/Tennessee Athletics
HOOVER, Ala. (AP) -- Tennessee's A.J. Johnson admitted his decision to stay with the Volunteers or head to the NFL was one of the toughest he's ever had to make.
The 6-foot-2, 242-pound Johnson said he "came to Tennessee to be a winner" and will be a defensive anchor for the Volunteers after leading the team with 106 tackles last season. He's one of the few sure things on a roster that's undergoing change during coach Butch Jones' second season.
Tennessee returns 11 starters but must replace the entire starting offensive and defensive lines. There's also a quarterback battle between Justin Worley and Joshua Dobbs, who both received extensive playing time last season.