One of the youngest offensive lines in the FBS just got younger.
Butch Jones announced Tuesday that Tennessee starting left tackle Jacob Gilliam tore his ACL in the Vols' 38-7 win over Utah State Sunday, ending his 2014 season. A fifth-year senior, Gilliam is a former walk-on who earned a scholarship over the summer and was making his first career start against the Aggies.
Jones said he felt "awful" for Gilliam, per GoVols247, and added that "I love him, I love his family and I love everything they stand for."
The Volunteers entered 2014 needing to replace all five starters on their offensive line, making even Gilliam's limited experience a major asset for the growing unit.
Redshirt freshman Brett Kendrick replaced Gilliam against the Aggies following the injury, though per GoVols247 Jones could still opt for junior Dontavius Blair in the new starting lineup or reshuffle the line.
From Gilliam's Twitter feed:
I want to thank everyone for the thoughts and prayers. I will make it through this.— Jacob Gilliam (@JGilly65) September 2, 2014