Tennessee football: 15 potential dark-horse Vols for 2019 season

KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Carlin Fils-Aime
KNOXVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 09: Carlin Fils-Aime /
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Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images /

Once a four-star commitment, Tyler Byrd’s career with Tennessee football has been, well, quite inconsistent. He showed promise as the heir to Josh Smith in 2016, the future slot receiver in Butch Jones’s system, with 15 catches for 209 yards and eight carries for 63 yards.

The next year, however, his production dropped to three receptions for 27 yards and two receptions for 19 yards. Chatters began to grow that Jones was misusing him and he belonged on defense. So Jeremy Pruitt tried him there in the spring of 2018, but by the end he moved Byrd back to receiver, where he only had one catch last year. But that catch was a 20-yard touchdown.

With two career touchdowns, the 5’11” 210-pound senior hasn’t been able to get his career going. And he’s not a favorite to start this year with Josh Palmer, Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings around. However, don’t count out his potential.

Anybody who has seen Byrd play knows he’s actually very good with the ball in his hands. If Jim Chaney is looking for speed to stretch out the defense, Byrd may be where he turns. After all, he is a veteran and a very good athlete. Right now, he’s listed on the depth chart as Callaway’s backup. But a couple of injuries or offensive woes could get him in there and turn him into a key playmaker.