Less then a week into the end of the regular season, the transfer portal circus has begun. Tennessee football was not exempt, and the Vols took a hit immediately on Wednesday with two wide receivers, both of whom have shown promise, entering the portal.
Jimmy Calloway and Jimmy Holiday are entering. Both receivers were in the slot behind Jalin Hyatt, just as they were behind Velus Jones Jr. last year. With Jones gone, though, Calloway still saw less action. He went from five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown in 2021 to just two catches for 20 yards in 2022.
Holiday saw his production increase, but it’s relative, as he had one catch for five yards in 2021 and six catches for 106 yards and a touchdown in 2022. Still, he was the Vols’ primary kickoff returner, averaging 20.1 yards a return on 14 returns. Both players announced their transfer from Tennessee football on social media.
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I want to thank everyone involved for the opportunity to play the sport I love at the University of Tennessee. After much consideration I have decided to enter the transfer portal with 3yrs of eligibility. pic.twitter.com/ZnS0H7zYmw
— jimmy calloway (@Jimmycalloway1) November 30, 2022
With Hyatt likely not returning, it’s odd that both players decided to enter the portal. There appears to be only one explanation: Squirrel White. Another slot receiver, White showed a ton of promise in mop-up duty behind Hyatt for the Vols this year.
White finished the season with 21 catches for 373 yards and a touchdown. He also had two punt returns and averaged 21.5 yards a return, so it’s pretty clear Josh Heupel will need to use both him and Dee Williams in special teams next year.
Bru McCoy and Ramel Keyton are both likely back on the outside, taking another spot away from at least Calloway, so it’s likely Tennessee football’s rotation next year is set with those two at wideout and White in the slot. Again, that’s assuming Hyatt leaves early for the pros.
Behind White, though, is Walker Merrill, and he also had more catches and yards than Calloway or Holiday. He finished with eight catches for 116 yards and three touchdowns. As a result, even with Hyatt gone, White and Merrill are taking away avenues for Calloway and Holiday.
Both Calloway and Holiday have shown what they can do with the ball in their hands. Callway had a touchdown reception last year against the Pittsburgh Panthers in what seemed like a breakout game for him. Holiday made quite a few big plays in the return game this year.
However, there’s not much room for them to see more action next year even with Hyatt and Cedric Tillman likely gone. As a result, it makes sense for them to look elsewhere to play since they each have three years of eligibility left. Everybody should wish them the best in their future.