Josh Heupel is obviously very familiar with the Orlando area given the fact that he spent the past three years coaching the UCF Knights. As a result, when he has Tennessee football trending for elite prospects in Central Florida, particularly in Orange County, he should be taken seriously.
The Vols are now in the top eight for 2022 wide receiver Jayden Gibson. A four-star across all services out of West Orange High School in Winter Garden, Fla., Gibson stands in the 6’4″ to 6’5″ range and weighs in the range of 185 to 190 pounds.
In addition to Tennessee football, Gibson has the Florida Gators, Miami Hurricanes, Florida State Seminoles, Georgia Bulldogs, Auburn Tigers, South Carolina Gamecocks and Baylor Bears on his list. He announced the schools Wednesday evening on Twitter.
Given his size, Gibson would be an elite go-to wideout in Heupel’s system. Speaking of Heupel’s system, that could be another major advantage for the Vols along with Heupel’s connections to that part of the country.
With the recent departures of Josh Palmer and Brandon Johnson along with Malachi Wideman entering the transfer portal, the Vols need a few more wideouts who bring a true size advantage to the position. That will ensure that they can find somebody to stand out given the fact that nobody is proven enough to play that role yet.
Cedric Tillman and Ramel Keyton have shown promise, and incoming freshman Julian Nixon will also help with that, but a guy like Gibson would still go a long way towards bolstering the wideout position. Heupel’s offense can be unstoppable when he has elite, tall targets in the passing game.
Currently, Florida is the unanimous favorite on the Rivals Future Cast, the majority favorite on the 247Sports Crystal Ball and the plurality favorite on the Rivals Fan Future Cast to land him. However, Miami is receiving a prediction on the Crystal Ball, and there are only three picks, none of which have a confidence factor above a five.
Simply put, Florida being the favorite right now is not a big story. There just aren’t enough serious projections yet. As a result, Tennessee football has as good a chance as anybody, and given Heupel’s system and connections, they should be considered a serious threat too.