After losing Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway at the wide receiver position, the Vols have been determined to reload the team with fresh talent. For the most part, the Vols’ efforts have paid off on the recruiting trail, and wide receiver coach Tee Martin has been very successful through two seasons in Knoxville. In addition to Martin, offensive coordinator Jim Chaney is very excited about the new talent that will be showcased in Neyland Stadium this year.
“(They have) talent. (They’re) very talented,” said Chaney during a press conference on Thursday afternoon. “They'll go fast man. They might go the wrong way fast and that creates some problems, but they're going fast on the football field. I'm very pleased with the kids that we brought in here as young wide receivers.”
“I think they're going to be just fine,” continued Chaney, who is in his second stint with the Vols. “I think you'll see them on the football field helping us quite a bit. It's our job to get them ready to roll. I think they all have a passion for the game, which you really never know when you walk on the football field the competitive character of these freshmen until you get them out there. You have an idea, but you really don't know.”
“These kids all love the game of football, that's the one quality they all share,” explained Chaney. “They all want to be good and they can all run. And they can all catch. There's even an added quality to a good wide receiver. They can catch, run and they love football, so there's really not a lot of barriers other than knowledge that gets in their way of being productive for us.”
While Chaney’s praise of the young unit is certainly significant, he is not the only coach who has praised the position group. Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt met with the media last week, and when he was asked about the young receivers he mimicked much of what Chaney had to say, but also praised a specific newcomer to Tennessee’s roster: Irmo, South Carolina native Jalin Hyatt.
“We have a lot of young receivers and one thing about all of them is they can run,” claimed Pruitt during the press conference. “They’re really fast. Jalin (Hyatt) is a guy that is very polished. He’s had three really good practices, and he’s got to continue to do that. He’s got to work on ball security.”
“It’s a little different in this league because everyone plays in your face,” continued Pruitt. “In high school, very few teams played him that way so he’s got to continue to work really hard at the line of scrimmage, at the top of routes, and he’s a guy that can play really all three spots at wide receiver.”
The young freshmen’s careers at the University of Tennessee are set to begin on September 26th in William-Brice Stadium against the South Carolina Gamecocks. While the young players are undoubtedly looking forward to their Tennessee debuts, they are facing an unprecedented task in being forced to both adapt to the SEC waters during a global pandemic.