2023 IMG Academy (Fla.) wide receiver Devin Hyatt made the trip to Knoxville for Tennessee's first Junior Day of the year. The prized receiver is the brother of current Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, and while he is more than familiar with the program, Saturday offered him the opportunity to get more one-on-one time with the staff. He details the trip and more here.
Hyatt traveled with IMG teammate Carnell Tate to Knoxville, and the duo dealt with flight issues coming to Knoxville, which caused them to start the visit a little later than most, but the overall trip went well.
"We got here a little late, so it was more one-on-one as opposed to the group time," Hyatt said of the Junior Day. "Me and coach Burns were able to have several conversations, and I got to speak with Coach Golesh. It was a lot of one-on-one time. It is always great to come up here to Tennessee. It is always a good time."
The highlight of the trip for Hyatt was just that face-to-face opportunity with the Tennessee staff.
"It was honestly the one-on-one time with the coaches and just talking with them about how things really are and getting to pick the coach's brain and learn about the roster and get more information about the roster and things like that," he said.
Hyatt and wide receivers coach Kodi Burns are continuing to grow a strong bond through the recruiting process.
"I have grown closer with Coach Burns, and I have been able to see how he coaches through Jalin," Hyatt said of Burns. "He seems like a good, hard coach that knows what he is talking about. The way they use Jalin and move him around, and the outside receivers like Tillman having a big year, I have just grown closer with them. I love a coach that loves to throw the ball around, but what receiver doesn't like that."
The Tennessee staff envisions Hyatt as a versatile receiving option, and they reiterated that message this weekend.
"Coach Burns has told me that he believes he can move me around," Hyatt said of the potential fit in Tennessee's offense. "Primarily outside, but there could be situations where I motion inside or to the slot, or if they want to go to a bigger package, so he sees me as more of a hybrid receiver. He believes they can put me wherever they need me on the field."
Having the family connection through his brother is obviously a big asset for the younger Hyatt, as he can focus on more in-depth aspects of the recruiting process when he comes to Knoxville.
"When I come here, I see the facilities, the stadium, and I have been around the game atmosphere and all of that," Hyatt said. "So it is not questions about how the University is, but more like in-depth questions about how they are going to move forward if I were to come here. Just things like that."
Hyatt transferred to IMG Academy before last season, and the move paired him with fellow standout receiver Carnell Tate, who the Vols are prioritizing as well. Is it possible the duo end up on Rocky Top or together on the college level?
"We have talked about how cool it would be for an IMG duo to go to Tennessee and how it would break the internet if we were to sign or commit here," Hyatt said. "He wants things and I want things in my own recruitment, and we aren't really trying to force anything on each other, and we all have our own recruitment and own journey. He has favorites, and so do I, and it is all fun, but it would be cool if we were able to go to the same place."
Hyatt's next trip will take him to Tuscaloosa to see Nick Saban's program, who have pushed hard for him over the last few months.
"My next visit is to Alabama next week for their Junior Day," he said. "I am going to fly out there. I have some other stuff lined up, but I don't know all of the dates just yet."
Hyatt is working on a timeline for a commitment right now, but he has an idea in mind.
"I would like to commit early, for sure before my senior year," Hyatt said. "I would like to lock in a spot and get comfortable and not really worry about the recruitment stuff. As a receiver, quarterbacks are important to the class, so I am also waiting to see where some of those guys in my class commit to. I am going to let the spring play out and see how it goes and use the summer to commit before my senior year."
Tennessee and Alabama are not the only two schools in the mix for the touted pass catcher.
"South Carolina is always pushing for me," Hyatt said. "They want me to come back home. Coach Beamer and Coach Stepp, I am close to them and they are great coaches. FSU has hit me up and has been showing a lot of love lately. Auburn, I have been talking with them a lot too. It is pretty much the same five, but FSU is really trying to push in there as well."
As he continues to take visits and work through the process, Hyatt knows what he is looking for in the process.
"Just looking into the future and not focusing on the now. Finding a place that is home, obviously, but a place where I can have a great career. I would like to work my freshman year, but that is something you have to work for. I want to find a system where I will be needed and not just a choice or an option."