3. Slot receiver
This one isn’t just a position battle. It’s a major question mark. Tennessee football doesn’t really have anybody returning who is proven in the slot, and although Tyson Helton said he likes the deep pass a lot, his history of play-calling with the Western Kentucky Hilltoppers suggests he likes to use speedy, small receivers running crisp routes to make plays as well.
With Josh Smith gone, Vols fans would have expected Tyler Byrd to come in this time last year and just take that spot. But reports circulated that Byrd is more suited for defense, so he tried out there last spring. It didn’t work out, and he’s now back on offense.
But that opened up numerous questions as to who could start in the slot. In addition to Byrd, Latrell Williams is in competition for this spot as is Jordan Murphy. And to be honest, it could go to any of these guys.
I would have made Byrd the clear-cut favorite this time a year ago. But given everything that took place, Williams and Murphy are both as much in the mix. Murphy, once a four-star recruit, probably has the most potential in the group. But Williams is the speedy guy who can create mismatches that Helton likes.
While this all goes on, wideout is likely set with Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway. Brandon Johnson and Josh Palmer could threaten them, but there are clear favorites there. Here, though, that is far from the case.
So who’s it going to be? Byrd is the proven guy, Williams is the speedy guy, Murphy is the guy with potential. Could somebody else come into the fold? They just might. Keep an eye on what happens this fall at the position.