1. Velus Jones Jr. (KR)
In addition to being Tennessee football’s top target in the passing game, Velus Jones Jr. is going to be their top all-around weapon by also returning kickoffs. Last year, Jones returned 18 kickoffs for 398 yards, and the 6’0″ 200-pound senior will likely do more of that this year.
Before transferring from the USC Trojans, Jones had 29 kickoffs for 704 yards in 2019 and ran one back. As a result, he’s clearly a lethal weapon here, so he’ll likely maintain the role. UT needs to maximize its advantages, and that includes putting its best weapons on special teams.
2. Jimmy Calloway (PR)
Last year’s main punt returner was Eric Gray, but he has since transferred to the Oklahoma Sooners. One of the Vols’ backup receivers who has tons of potential and is fighting to get into the rotation will take that spot.
Jimmy Calloway fielded lots of punts in spring ball. Last year, Calloway saw action in eight games on special teams and had three touches on offense. The 6’0″ 190-pound sophomore has lots of potential as a pure athlete, and he’ll put that on display returning punts this year.
3. Jaylen Wright
We mentioned Jaylen Wright as the Vols’ top utility player and their all-purpose back in the passing game. The 5’11” 200-pound true freshman will have the same role in the return game. He’ll spend time spelling both Jones and Calloway, and in certain cases, if Heupel has two players returning punts or kicks, Wright will always be the second guy. That qualifies as two-deep here.