Tennessee Position Group Preview: Wide Receiver
By: John Dunn
Tennessee was once known as "WRU" or, "Wide Receiver University". Wide receivers such as: Robert Meachem, Carl Pickens and Peerless Price made their names at the University of Tennessee. We have since fallen on hard times at receiver...or have we? People seem to sleep on what I believe, is an elite unit. There are a ton of receivers listed on the roster. Let's break down the specific players that I believe will make this unit one of the best in the country.
1.) Jauan Jennings.
Jauan Jennings needs no introduction to Vol nation. From catching the game-winning hail mary against Georgia in the 16'-17' season, to burning and staring down Jalen "Teez" Tabor in the Florida game, Jennings has long provided an emotional spark for the Tennessee offense. Along with his play-making abilities, Jennings returns from injury this season bringing something even more valuable to the team..experience. Maturity in tow and a set of fresh legs will prove to elevate Jennings to the national spotlight, once again.
2.) Marquez Callaway
Much like Jennings, Callaway has already captivated the hearts of Vol fans everywhere with his electric play-making ability. Early in what would turn out to be an abysmal season, Callaway showed flashes of being one of the SEC's top receivers. He was the best player on offense in the spring game, catching two touchdowns from Guarantano. Having Jennings back on the other side of the field will play to Callaway's advantage and he will supply the Vols with plenty of touchdowns in the coming season.
3.) Tyler Byrd
After a brief position switch, Tyler Byrd is back at receiver. Arguably one of the most under-utilized players of coach Butch Jones' tenure, Byrd is poised for a break-out season. His top-tier speed and open field ability, make him a "home-run" threat every time he has the ball in his hands. Look for Byrd to be blowing past defenders, if hasn't shaken them out of their shoes first, all season long.
4.) Brandon Johnson
After leading the Vols in reception yardage last season and tying the team in receptions, Brandon Johnson is poised for a well-rounded season. He has the ability to stretch the field vertically, due to his size and sure handed receiving ability. Complimented by the likes of Callaway, Byrd and Jennings, Johnson will live up to his family name and provide plenty of exciting plays for the Volunteers this season.
5.) Josh Palmer
Canadian-born receiver, Josh Palmer, is no stranger to a big stage even in his youth. During his time in high school, he played at one of the largest power houses in high school football, Saint Thomas Aquinas in Florida. He played in all 12 games for the Volunteers last season, seeing significant time in six of those games. Having a veteran group of receivers to "show him the ropes", Palmer will provide stability and depth at the WR position.
6.) Latrell Williams
Much like Josh Palmer, Latrell Williams provides depth and stability at the WR position. Williams has shown sure-handed ability and the ability stretch the field vertically with his size and precise footwork. With a group of veteran receivers ahead of him, the Vols are in good shape should the need arise for Williams to play important minutes.
While many may sleep on the University of Tennessee wide receiver corps, I firmly believe that we posses one of the most well-rounded and complete groups of receivers in the enitre country. With Jarrett Guarantano improving as a quarterback, and the arrival of Keller Chryst, these Volunteer receivers are in prime position to show out this season.