Freshman Freak: Potential Offensive Impact of Mike Matthews in Year One

How impactful can true freshman Mike Matthews be in year one with the Tennessee Volunteers?
Tennessee wide receiver Mike Matthews (89) does a touchdown celebration dance during Tennessee's Orange & White spring football game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, April 13, 2024.
Tennessee wide receiver Mike Matthews (89) does a touchdown celebration dance during Tennessee's Orange & White spring football game at Neyland Stadium on Saturday, April 13, 2024. / Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA
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How impactful can true freshman Mike Matthews be in year one with the Tennessee Volunteers?

The Tennessee Volunteers were one of the hottest offenses two seasons ago. Josh Heupel had his unit averaging 48.1 points per game which was the best in the country and it nearly carried them to a college football playoff berth. However, last season the Volunteers ranked just 35th in points per game and are looking to get back to their 2022 form this season with quarterback Nico Iamaleava.

One player who could be a massive contributor towards that is true freshman wide receiver Mike Matthews. The former five-star athlete out of Parkview High School in the state of Georgia early enrolled in Knoxville and has x-factor potential. During his senior season of high school football, Matthews finished with 39 receptions for 751 yards and nine touchdowns on offense to go along with 48 tackles and an interception on defense

In Tennessee's spring game this year, Matthews reeled in a 63-yard bomb that went for a touchdown and fully displayed his wide skill set as a receiver. The former multi-sport athlete has both the ability to pose a threat vertically and be an issue from the line of scrimmage.

The Volunteers return some key names in the receiver room, such as Bru McCoy, Squirrel White and Dont'e Thornton Jr. but Matthews still has the possibility to make an impact on offense, even as a true freshman. And if the Volunteers have the intention of getting back to being an offensive juggernaut, Matthews could be the key to making that happen.

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Jonathan Williams

JONATHAN WILLIAMS