Johnson, Maggitt ready to lead Tennessee defense

Johnson, Maggitt ready to lead Tennessee defense

Posted: Updated:
AP Sports Writer

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Since they cracked Tennessee's starting lineup as freshmen three years ago, A.J. Johnson and Curt Maggitt have been among the most recognizable faces of Tennessee's defense.

But they haven't had the chance to play together much lately.

While Johnson has developed into an all-Southeastern Conference linebacker, Maggitt hasn't played since tearing his anterior cruciate ligament on November 2012. That finally changes Sunday when Maggitt returns to action as Tennessee hosts Utah State in its season opener.

Tennessee needs Johnson and Maggitt to anchor an inexperienced defense as the Vols attempt to end a string of four straight losing seasons. Johnson's the only returning starter on Tennessee's front seven. Although Maggitt didn't play last year, Tennessee coach Butch Jones often calls him one of the team's biggest leaders.

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