Coming up with an all-time-greats list for a program as tradition-rich as Tennessee football is not an easy task.
For generations, UT football has been among the nation's top programs. The Volunteers are 10th on the all-time wins list and sixth in bowl wins. There are legends up and down the list of all-time Vols greats, and a who's-who of the top college football and NFL players played their college careers on the Hill.
Evidence of Tennessee's prolific ability to churn out talented players can be seen in the culmination of a recent down cycle of the program. The 2015 NFL draft marked the first time in 51 years that no Vol was selected by a pro team.
Though it was sad to see such a long streak end, that's still a pretty remarkable run of success that spanned more than half a century.
The UT football program has stocked the NFL with stars for years. From the halcyon days of General Robert Neyland to the talent-stacked Tennessee teams of the 1990s, the Vols were among the nation's top teams.
Even after the forgettable final seasons of legendary coach Phillip Fulmer, the one year of Lane Kiffin and the failed hiring (and subsequent firing) of Derek Dooley, UT still ranks among college football's greats.
Stars such as Heath Shuler, Al Wilson, Jason Witten and Arian Foster were showcased on the UT teams of the 1990s and 2000s. Also, NFL greats like Peyton Manning, Beattie Feathers, Doug Atkins and Reggie White played their college days in Knoxville.
This list doesn't include Vols greats who weren't standout players. If so, Neyland would have made it, as would Fulmer. The list took into account playing careers mostly with at least some emphasis on their careers beyond. Also, any lasting legacy impact was taken into consideration.
So, picking an all-time UT top-10 list is tough. But where's the fun in not trying?
Let's take a look at Tennessee's top legends throughout such a rich history.
In 2015, consistency will be a problem for the Longhorns, who lost a bunch of experienced talent at the end of last season. The guys who are left need to take a page out of Dylan Haines' book.
While also being the best players on the team, Malcom Brown, Jordan Hicks, John Harris and Quandre Diggs were models of consistent play last season, They showed up every day and did their jobs, dragging a flawed team to a bowl berth.
Now that they've moved on to the next level along with six other starters, the team's most talented players aren't necessarily their most consistent. Hassan Ridgeway can record one tackle just as easily as he can get two sacks, and Duke Thomas can pick off two passes in one game, then give up two touchdowns in the next.
This is just the state of the program as it reloads with young talent.
Fortunately, there are some less talented guys who always seem to impact the game by playing smart, sound football. It's up to their more gifted teammates to follow the example these guys set.