The Vols will be without Pig Howard, their leader in receptions in 2013, this spring according to a report from Go Vols Xtra.
Howard has not officially been suspended from the team, but will be away from the team for personal reasons.
A time frame for his return has not been established according to the report.
This obviously isn’t good news for Tennessee, as Howard led the team in receptions last season with 44. He was second on the team in receiving yards (388) and scored three touchdowns. He also carried the ball 18 times for 93 yards.
The slot receiver is an important position in Butch Jones’ offense. With Howard out, it’s likely you’ll see players like Johnathon Johnson see more time as the third receiver. Newcomers Josh Malone and Von Pearson could also see time in the slot, but they’re both better suited to be split out wide across from Marquez North.
Devrin Young, who is currently listed as a running back, is certainly no stranger to the slot and could be used there as well.
Howard’s situation is somewhat similar to running back Marlin Lane’s absence from the team last spring.
Lane was officially suspended from the team in the middle of spring practice and was reinstated in early June.
Howard’s future sounds a little more uncertain. He’s definitely not a guy the Vols want to lose, but fortunately Tennessee now has enough depth at wide receiver to be able to deal with a loss like this.
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