Tennessee Football: Vols’ spring practice news, position breakdowns, more

Tennessee defensive back Jordan Matthews (18) during spring football practice on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.Kns Vols Football Practice Bp
Tennessee defensive back Jordan Matthews (18) during spring football practice on Tuesday, March 21, 2023.Kns Vols Football Practice Bp /

Tennessee football is back with spring training camp, and there are tons to unravel as the Vols get closer to the annual Orange & White game.

The Volunteers had an incredible season last year, and the hype surrounding them for next season has already started to build. Tennessee football beat Clemson in the Orange Bowl, which featured an impressive performance from Joe Milton, Squirrel White, and many more future Vol impact players for next year.

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After winning the Orange Bowl, Tennessee football ended the season with 11 wins, beating three of the last four national champions. They also won the CFB game of the year and were led by the best Quarterback in the country.

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It’s been one week of Tennessee football spring practice, and many players have already started making some noise. The Vols will take the field for the second week today, with plenty to unpack.

Joe Milton has asserted himself as the Tennessee football starting quarterback.

According to OffTheHook Sports, “From multiple sources, Milton will almost assuredly be Tennessee’s first-team Quarterback throughout the offseason and into fall camp. Per sources, Milton is practically a lock to start the season. For highly touted freshman Nico Iamaleava to see the field this fall, Milton would have to struggle in games to lose playing time.

Milton showed how good he can be when he lit up Clemson in the Orange Bowl. However, he had accuracy issues before. Those would have to crop up again for Iamaleava to see the field in a first-team role. Milton hasn’t been perfect, nor as he should be expected to be. The senior threw an interception to freshman linebacker Arion Carter last week.”

Cameron Seldon is going to make an immediate impact.

Seldon committed to Tennessee as an athlete, but the Vols will have him play primarily at running back this upcoming season. They have already moved him to tailback in spring practice, and he has been absolutely dominating. Cameron Seldon is 6-foot-2-inches and 215 pounds; Seldon looks mature in a running back room filled with primarily smaller backs.

Head Coach Josh Heupel had this to say about the freshman Running Back:

"“We’ll start him in the backfield. That’s where he’s going to get the majority of his work. His skill set allows him to do different things. We’ll increase his exposure out on the perimeter intentionally throughout the course of the spring. We’ll start it spoon-fed, and then he’ll grow from there. The thing that’s important for him is all the things that take place at the running back position, obviously your run game, run schemes. He’s going to understand some pop-pass concepts because of them being involved in it. With the protections part of it, I think it’s important that he starts there and is able to grow from that starting point.”"

OffTheHook Sports also has this to say about Seldon, “Running back coach Jerry Mack has been paying close attention to Seldon in practice. Mack gives Seldon the most feedback of just about any back in practice. It is clear Tennessee coaches want Seldon to play a big role at tailback, and he has the urgency in practice to mirror that. Seldon could fill a role that Princeton Fant had to play last season – power back. The Vols lacked a heavier back in short-yardage situations so Fant had to fill that void. Seldon could be that guy this season.

The Tennessee Football Receiver room is stacked.

It appears that Bru McCoy and Squirrel White will be the Volunteers’ top two starting receivers for the 2023 season, but who will be the third?

The 6’3 Junior transfer from USC, Bru McCoy, will return to the Volunteers for his senior year as the likely WR1. Bru had 52 receptions, 667 yards, and four touchdowns last season for the Volunteers. His role will continue to grow as he enters a second year under head coach Josh Heupel and the Tennessee offense.

Next, we move on to the WR2 spot. Last year for the Vols, when Jalin Hyatt declared for the draft and opted out of the Orange Bowl, the freshman Squirrel White made a name for himself; he tallied up nine receptions for 108 yards and a touchdown. It looked like Squirrel White and Joe Milton had been playing together for years. That’s enough to secure him at the No. 2 spot. I see the rising sophomore becoming a significant role for this Tennessee offense. Furthermore, According to 247 Sports, the rising sophomore wide receiver is listed as a “potential rising superstar.” There is nothing but good things coming from Squirrel, and I am excited to see him play to his full potential.

We have to wonder who the WR3 will be for this upcoming season. In my opinion, there are two options. First, Ramel Keyton, who stepped up last year for the Vols and had 31 receptions, 562 yards, and five touchdowns. However, he hadn’t done anything before this past season, so it will be interesting to see the battle between him and who I think is the other option.

Finally, we get to the transfer WR from Oregon Dont’e Thornton. Dont’e will be coming to the Vols next year as a 6’5, 200-pound Junior. As a Sophomore this past season, Dont’e had a good season with 17 receptions, 366 yards, and 1 touchdown. He will be an excellent addition to the Volunteer wide receiver room. Dont’e is an incredible deep threat, and if we have learned one thing from Joe Milton, it’s that he can certainly throw the ball far. Dont’e was a 4-star in the class of 2021 and ranked 57th nationally. He is, by far, one of the most talented players in the portal.

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