Tennessee football: Five reasonable goals for 2022

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Everybody’s undefeated right now. That’s the beauty of August when it comes to college football. Tennessee football fans feel that same level of excitement, largely because of how they overachieved their first year under Josh Heupel. A coach’s second year naturally brings more excitement, and Heupel magnified it.

So what’s in store for the Vols this year? Well, right off the bat, let’s go ahead and say an SEC Championship or College Football Playoff appearance is likely off the table. Sorry, but they just aren’t there yet. That doesn’t mean that they can’t have a good season, though.

As we get set to break down what UT should strive for this year, we’re going to include a mix of individual stats, rankings, games to win and yes, even moral victories. For now, that’s still in play, and they need a year before shooting for the stars. Here are five reasonable goals for Tennessee football in 2022.

These are things the Tennessee football Volunteers can aspire to Josh Heupel’s second year.

Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) warming up before the start of an NCAA college football game between the Tennessee Volunteers and Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles in Knoxville, Tenn. on Saturday, September 18, 2021.

5. Hendon Hooker and Cedric Tillman each break one record

Last year, Hendon Hooker broke two records. He completed 68 percent of his passes, averaged 9.5 yards per attempt and had a 31-3 touchdown to interception ratio. Those were all the best numbers ever for a quarterback at UT who had at least 300 pass attempts. However, he can do better this year with a full season.

Peyton Manning’s record of 36 passing touchdowns, his and Josh Dobbs’ co-record of 39 total touchdowns and his record of 3,789 yards of total offense should all be in danger with Hooker. Without a full season, he had 36 total touchdowns and 3,561 yards of total offense this year. He should break one of those records in Josh Heupel’s system.

As for Cedric Tillman, he’s Tennessee football’s first returning 1,000-yard receiver since Kelley Washington in 2002. His 12 receiving touchdowns last year is tied for second all-time, and his 1,083 receiving yards is third all-time. With Hooker and him back, he should break one record.

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