Before Tennessee football began fall camp, there were two remaining positional questions. Commits Julian Nixon and Kaemen Marley, who were not with the Vols in the spring, could play multiple positions. Nixon was listed as a wide receiver on Rivals and ESPN but a tight end on 247Sports. Marley was listed as an athlete.
Well, with the start of fall camp underway, we know where Josh Heupel at least has these guys working now. Nixon is playing tight end and is up to 245 pounds to complement his 6’3″ frame. Marley, who was a four-star across the board and an elite prospect, is at wide receiver.
This follows a couple of roster updates we saw in the spring, including Christian Charles, the other athlete, starting out at defensive back and the edge rushers still being listed as linebackers. However, these two new position moves by Heupel actually tell a lot about the program. Here are five things they mean for Tennessee football.
5. There’s a plan to rotate in and out lots of receivers.
Kaemen Marley isn’t just a guy who could have played multiple positions on the field. He’s one of the elite athletes in the Vols’ 2021 recruiting class and a player that Heupel and his staff would look to get on the field early. As a result, they would do whatever it took to put him in the best position possible to get serious playing time.
Well, the Vols are loaded at receiver, even if lots of the talent is unproven. Velus Jones Jr. and Jalin Hyatt are the two proven returners, but Cedric Tillman, Ramel Keyton, Jimmy Calloway, Walker Merrill and Andison Coby all bring tons of potential. Now Marley is joining that list.
This means that Heupel expects to run a deep rotation at receiver, one so deep that Marley will still see the field regardless of which other players emerge. At 6’3″ 195 pounds, Marley can provide immediate help at the wideout spot, but it’s not like depth is a concern just yet at this position. Heupel just wants Tennessee football to have a deep rotation.