football Edit

Vols signee Quavaris Crouch confident in full-time move to linebacker

SAN ANTONIO — Quavaris Crouch showed up to the first All-American Bowl practice in a crisp white No. 27 jersey.

It was a uniform technically reserved for the East Team offense, but when the 4-star Tennessee signee took the field inside the Alamo Dome on Tuesday he spent the entire time with the defense.

Welcome to Crouch’s new reality.

While Crouch was two-way star at Harding University (N.C.), Tennessee’s ballyhooed addition on the final day of the Early Signing Period will play mostly linebacker in college.

His choice, too.

“I can play both ways if (the Vols) coaches need me to,” he told VolQuest on Tuesday.

“But linebacker, man, it’s easy.”

At the 6-foot-2, 237 pounds, Crouch certainly looked the part of an SEC ‘backer on Day 1 in San Antonio, lining up at middle linebacker during drills and 7-on-7 work. He had a pair of thumping hits during a run-fit drill, nearly lighting up his future teammate Eric Gray, a Tennessee tailback signee, on one play.

“I blew a couple plays up. It was fun,” he said.

Crouch flashed his size and athleticism during the drill, but perhaps more noticeably, natural instincts. He funneled to the ball like a tailback, saying afterward all his time in the backfield has accelerated his learning curve at the position.

"Honestly, I’m not going to lie to y’all, me playing linebacker it was easy for me in high school. I thought being out here with some big guys, the linemen you see in college and stuff like that, and it’s easy for me still,” Crouch said.

"I feel confident playing linebacker, even more confident than I did before. I feel good about it, man.”

Tennessee coaches Jeremy Pruitt and Chris Rumph recruited Crouch to play outside linebacker — where he mostly played as a junior for Harding and recorded 14 sacks — but like 2018 All-American Bowl alumni and Tennessee linebacker signee JJ Peterson, he expects to play both multiple LB positions for the Vols.

“Being versatile is just a plus,” Crouch said.

“I’m fast enough for both. I can (convert) speed to power, so I feel like I can play inside or outside. Inside to me is just natural because of my eyes. Just being a running back helps me out at inside linebacker. Outside linebacker is good for me too because I have a good get off. I need to work on my hands a little more, but I’m comfortable at both.”

Crouch suffered a shoulder stinger during the drill and wore an ice pack after practice, but the nation’s No. 30 prospect said he will practice Wednesday.

“I’m good. I’ll be back out there to compete.”