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A Look at Tennessee's Freshmen, Transfers Against Tennessee Tech

A look at how Tennessee's freshmen and incoming transfers fared against Tennessee Tech.

Tennessee steamrolled Tennessee Tech on Saturday to the tune of 56-0 in their final game before conference play begins. Once again, we take a look at how Tennessee's newcomers (freshmen and incoming transfers for the 2021 season) fared in the matchup.

Newcomers Earning Participation- RB Jaylen Wright, RB Tiyon Evans, WR Walker Merrill, WR JaVonta Payton, QB Hendon Hooker, PK Chase McGrath, PK J.T. Carver, DL Caleb Tremblay, Punter Colby Morgan, WR Nigel Lanier, LB William Mohan, LB Byron Young, OL William Parker, DB Christian Charles, DB Brandon Turnage, LB Aaron Willis, WR Lucien Brunetti, OL Jeremiah Crawford, LB Eunique Valentine, WR Andison Coby, DB Kamal Hadden, TE Miles Campbell, and DB De'Shawn Rucker.

Newcomers That Did Not Participate-  DL Amari McNeill, TE Trinity Bell, WR Kaemen Marley, DL Da'Jon Terry, LB Juwan Mitchell, TE Julian Nixon and QB Joe Milton III.

Noticeable Absences

Starting quarterback Joe Milton III did not participate or dress for Saturday's game due to an injury he suffered against Pitt last Saturday. It seems as if Milton will be available for the contest against Florida, which could make for a tough decision for Josh Heupel given Hendon Hooker's performance. 

Da'Jon Terry was another notable absence on Saturday in terms of newcomers. Terry was dressed in street clothes on the sideline and did not participate. There has been no indication for why he was out. 

After bouncing back in week two against, Pitt, coveted transfer linebacker Juwan Mitchell was not dressed out for the Vols on Saturday. Tennessee used a consistent rotation at linebacker and got valuable experience for multiple players. 

Elsewhere, Bell and Marley have continued to be limited participants this fall, as both have dealt with injuries, but they are continuing to improve week over week. 

QB Play

With Milton out for Saturday's contest, Hendon Hooker earned the start and performed well. Hooker was 17-25 for 199 yards and three touchdowns through the air. He also led the Vols in rushing with 68 yards and a touchdown.

RB Play

Tiyon Evans returned to the backfield on Saturday to earn the start for the Vols, and he carried the ball 15 times for 41 yards and a touchdown. It was tough sledding for Evans early on as the Golden Eagles sold out to stop the run early. 

Evans was joined in the backfield by Freshman Jaylen Wright, as Jabari Small was sidelined with an injury. Wright carried the ball nine times for 43 yards and added a score. Evans added a reception and Wright added two out of the backfield.

Wide Receivers

With Tennessee being cautious with Jimmy Calloway and Jalin Hyatt, freshman Walker Merrill got the start in the slot, and he thrived. Merrill caught all four of his targets for 40 yards. 

Elsewhere, transfer JaVonta Payton led the Vols in targets with six. He hauled in three passes for 46 yards, including a touchdown pass early in the game. 

Preferred walk-on's Lucien Brunetti and Nigel Lanier both saw their first action as a Vol as they received special teams work on Saturday.

Tight End

Miles Campbell received work at the tight end position on Saturday as he continues to progress under Alex Golesh, however, fellow freshman Julian Nixon was in street clothes on the sideline. 

Offensive Line

Tennessee did not have any newcomers participate last week against Pitt in this position group, but both William Parker and Jeremiah Crawford earned rotational snaps for the Vols this week as Glen Elarbee's group continues to try and find its identity.

Defensive Line

With Terry sidelined, Caleb Tremblay was the only newcomer to participate for this group. Tennessee used a heavy rotation upfront, but Tremblay continues to be a pleasant surprise for the Vols and Rodney Garner. He recorded one tackle on Saturday. 


Byron Young made his debut as a Vol and co-led the team in tackles with six stops on the day. Young was all over the field when the Vols used him. He will look to quickly build on that momentum as he will be called on to stop Florida's potent rushing attack. 

William Mohan, the young Michigan transfer, is one that many thought might be in line for a redshirt this fall, but he has continued to wreak havoc on special teams and looked the part when earning reps at linebacker. Mohan had three tackles on Saturday.

Freshman linebacker Aaron Willis made his debut but did not record any stats. 

Defensive Back

The Vols got multiple newcomers work in the secondary. Brandon Turnage, Christian Charles, and De'Shawn Rucker all got work. Rucker and Turnage worked at the corner spots, while Charles worked at a safety. Charles recorded three tackles, Rucker recorded one, and Turnage did not record any stats. 


Chase McGrath was 7-7 on extra points on the day, while Freshman J.T. Carver got his first work as a Vol and nailed the final extra point of the day. 

Freshman walk-on Kolby Morgan handled the punting duties. He boomed four punts and averaged 38.5 yards per punt, including a long of 55 and one kick inside the 20.