Tennessee football: 10 Vols who did not benefit from 2019 spring practice

TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21: Shawn Shamburger
TUSCALOOSA, AL - OCTOBER 21: Shawn Shamburger /
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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

Every excuse has been made for Tyler Byrd not being able to make an impact yet. Once a four-star wide receiver, he showed promise as a freshman playing behind Josh Smith in the slot. The future seemed bright.

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However, by his sophomore season, Tennessee football fans were saying that Butch Jones wasn’t using him properly. They said he was a defensive back. In comes Jeremy Pruitt, and after a spring of trying him out there, he was moved back to wide receiver.

Then Vols fans said he just hadn’t had the right coaching yet and would eventually get going. But he only had one reception in 2018, and while it was indeed for a 20-yard touchdown, that’s hardly the production you want from a speedy guy who can play the slot.

So then came this spring and Jim Chaney looking for a slot guy. It came down to Byrd or Jordan Murphy. Unfortunately for Byrd, he nor Murphy made it into the first-team rotation at receiver for the spring game. Murphy is okay because he’s a junior, and there are four seniors on the receiving corps. Byrd, though, is one of those seniors. So this is his last chance to play.

Now, he did have two receptions for 50 yards in the spring game, showing some promise. But if he’s the odd-man out, he’s in trouble. Chaney seems more than willing to use just all height with Jauan Jennings, Marquez Callaway, Josh Palmer and even Brandon Johnson.

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Similar to Johnson, Byrd should consider taking a redshirt. He’d then be able to come back as a redshirt senior with way more open slots. At least two of the receivers ahead of him will be gone. If he doesn’t, he’s almost certainly going to finish his Tennessee football career with very limited production. And he has the potential to show more.