Vols Football: Josh Malone Coming Alive


Sep 21, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones reacts against the Florida Gators during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Florida Gators defeated the Tennessee Volunteers 31-17. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

A year ago at this time, the Vols wide receiver situation was less than ideal.

Now, just 12 months later, the future of the position is looking as bright as ever.

Von Pearson, a JuCo transfer who has yet to play a game at Tennessee, has already found himself in the SportsCenter Top 10, with an impressive one-handed catch in the back of the end zone, just before the Vols broke for spring break.

Pearson will likely start on the outside, opposite of sophomore Marquez North, who is a stud in his own right.

Another newcomer who will see a lot of time this year is Gallatin, TN native Josh Malone.

Malone, a four-star wide receiver coming out of high school, is an early enrollee who is obviously going through spring practice for the first time. That means he has a bit of catching up to do to the other veteran wide receivers on the roster.

But according to Butch Jones, he’s starting to look the part of a future star.

"Jones: “One individual I thought today looked really fast and is starting to play with a lot of confidence right now is Josh Malone. He’s coming off the football, he’s playing with a lot of confidence and you can see the speed, burst and acceleration that we saw on film when we were recruiting him.”"

That’s great news for Vol fans. Even though Malone probably won’t be a starter this year (there’s been talk of Pearson playing some in the slot, but I expect Pig Howard back this fall), he’ll still see extensive playing time.

Tennessee wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni loves to rotate eight to nine wide receivers through the course of a game, which means there will be plenty of time for Malone to be a factor.

Last year the Vols had to rely on a true freshman — Marquez North — which isn’t a situation any coach wants to be faced with. As good as North was last season, he was still a true freshman and that’s a lot of pressure to heap on a youngster’s shoulders.Malone, on the other hand, will have the luxury of being brought along slowly, which is the ideal situation.

Josh Malone is going to be a star at Tennessee one day. He has all the tools: size, athleticism and speed. It’s only a matter of time before he’s a fixture in the highlight reel.

Wide Receiver U is in good hands.