6’0″ 200 pounds; Hometown: Saraland, Ala.
There was a bit of a shock that Velus Jones Jr. would actually have to split time with JaVonta Payton at one wide receiver position while Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman started on their own. You could see Tillman being one starter regardless of Jones, as Josh Heupel needs at least one pure wideout. However, it would seem Jones would get the nod over Hyatt as the other full-time guy.
Either way, Jones should be one of the top playmakers for Tennessee football. After transferring to the Vols to the USC Trojans last year, he took a while to get going, but he bloomed late and finished second on the team in receiving with 22 catches for 280 yards and three touchdowns. With Josh Palmer now gone, he led everybody who is back for this year.
As a speedster, Josh Heupel will have plenty of use for Jones in his offense. Beyond just catching the ball, he can be used on gadget running plays, and don’t forget the biggest reason he was a four-star coming out of Saraland High School in Alabama’s Mobile County.
Jones is also an elite kickoff returner, a role he’ll resume this year. The guy has already run one back for a touchdown in his career, and with a likely newfound interest in special teams by this coaching staff, he’ll have more opportunities to be an elite playmaker this year.