Tennessee moved a couple of players to cornerback this spring and made a couple of late additions to its 2018 recruiting class in hopes of improving the level of competition in the Vols’ secondary.

Both of their newcomers at cornerback made good first impressions in their first official practice at Tennessee.

First-year Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt said freshman cornerback Bryce Thompson, a former four-star prospect from Irmo, S.C., and junior-college transfer Kenneth George Jr. both “showed some promise” Friday afternoon during Tennessee’s first preseason practice at Haslam Field.

“I think Bryce and Kenneth, for their first practice, they showed some promise,” Pruitt said after the Vols’ opening practice in helmets and shorts, which lasted more than two hours in sunny, hot conditions.

“They’ve both got good feet. They’re heavy-handed. They play the ball. They’ve got instincts. They’ve got to learn what to do, and they are.”

The 5-foot-11, 180-pound Thompson enrolled at Tennessee in late May, adding a versatile, dynamic athlete to the Vols’ 2018 class more than three months after National Signing Day.

Thompson’s arrival came more than two months after Pruitt’s staff received a commitment from the 5-foot-11, 195-pound George, an under-the-radar, junior-college prospect who drew interest from Nebraska leading up to signing day.

George spent the past two seasons at Trinity Valley Community College in Athens, Texas, after playing primarily on the kickoff unit at Acadiana High School in Lafayette, La. He put on 50 pounds and grew four inches before walking on at Trinity Valley and then appearing in 11 games last year as a redshirt freshman.

Thompson and George joined a group of cornerbacks competing for playing time that also includes some experienced veterans, including juniors Baylen Buchanan and Marquill Osborne, along with a couple of returning players who moved to cornerback this spring — former safety Maleik Gray and former running back Carlin Fils-aime.

Another newcomer, freshman Alontae Taylor, worked at both wide receiver and cornerback this spring before settling in at cornerback toward the end of spring practice.

With the Vols’ starting cornerback jobs up for grabs going into preseason camp, Pruitt said Thursday that he knows what he and his staff are hoping to find among the several candidates who will be trying to crack the lineup.

“I think, with any position, you’ve kind of got to know what you’re looking for,” he said. “At corner, to me, the first thing is you’ve got to be able to play man-to-man. You’ve got to be able to play the ball, because there’s lot of balls out on the perimeter. You’ve got to be a good tackler.

“And I think, if you can tackle in space, you can play man-to-man, you can play the ball, and then you’ve got to talk about intangibles. Are you a smart football player? Do you know how to use your help? I think that’s the most important things.”