Photo via Orange Bowl Twitter/@OrangeBowl
Tennessee capped off its 2022 season with a bang, rolling No. 7 Clemson, 31-14, in the Capital One Orange Bowl Friday night.
Joe Milton III played the best game of his Tennessee career and the Vols’ defense rose to the occasion against the ACC Champions as Tennessee its 11th win on the season.
If you need a reminder on how Pro Football Focus works, read the opening of the Ball State grades.
Let’s see how the Vols graded out.
Elite grade = 90-100, All-Conference = 85-89, Starter = 70-84, Backup = 60-69, Replaceable = 60 >
Offensive Grades (minimum 17 plays — 25% of offensive plays)
WR Squirrel White — 76.9 (66 plays)
QB Joe Milton III — 76.7 (69 plays)
OT Darnell Wright — 72.1 (66 plays)
RB Jaylen Wright — 71.6 (21 plays)
TE Princeton Fant — 68.5 (42 plays)
WR Bru McCoy —66.0 (69 plays)
RB Jabari Small — 65.8 (48 plays)
TE Jacob Warren — 62.3 (30 plays)
OG Javontez Spraggins — 62.2 (64 plays)
OT Gerald Mincey — 61.5 (35 plays)
WR Ramel Keyton — 59.9 (69 plays)
OG Jerome Carvin — 56.7 (69 plays)
C Cooper Mays — 52.0 (69 plays)
The storyline about Tennessee’s performance starts with Joe Milton III who showed why he will be the Vols’ starting quarterback to begin next season. Hendon Hooker frequented the top of the PFF grades all season and while Milton wasn’t in the top spot, he wasn’t far behind earning a starter grade.
It likely won’t be the last time Squirrel White earns a big grade in his Tennessee career. He’s been one of Milton’s favorite targets all season and will have an even bigger role next season.
Kudos to the Wrights. Jaylen finally found running lanes to shake loose in during the fourth quarter and Darnell — after deciding not top opt out — graded out as the game’s best offensive lineman.
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Defensive Grades (minimum 25 plays — 25% of defensive plays)
CB Doneiko Slaughter — 76.0 (98 plays)
DE Tyler Baron — 72.9 (46 plays)
S Wesley Walker — 72.4 (105 plays)
DE Joshua Josephs — 65.5 (29 plays)
LB Juwan Mitchell — 65.2 (48 plays)
DE Bryson Eason — 63.5 (49 plays)
LB Aaron Beasley — 62.6 (81 plays)
STAR Tamarion McDonald — 60.8 (103 plays)
DT LaTrell Bumphus — 60.3 (53 plays)
DT Omari Thomas — 59.8 (37 plays)
DE Byron Young — 58.4 (73 plays)
DE Dominic Bailey — 57.8 (33 plays)
CB Kamal Hadden — 57.5 (93 plays)
S Jaylen McCollough — 54.7 (105 plays)
LB Solon Page III — 48.4 (76 play)
DE Roman Harrison — 39.8 (50 plays)
Doneiko Slaughter’s up-and-down season continued against Clemson. Slaughter was phenomenal against Clemson and Kentucky but struggled badly against South Carolina and Georgia. He finished his season with five tackles, three pass break ups and the highest defensive PFF grade.
It’s hard to imagine how Juwan Mitchell graded out higher than Aaron Beasley. No disrespect to Mitchell, but Beasley was one of the best players on the field. Beasley totaled four tackles for loss and two tackles as he lived in Clemson’s backfield.
In the same vain, Byron Young seemed to play better than his grade indicated. Young tallied two third down sacks in the Orange Bowl, including one that led to a missed field goal.