05 June, 2023
Returning Players: 7 starters on offense, 6 on defense, and 0 on special teams are anticipated to return.
The Volunteers’ post-spring outlook: Did Hendon Hooker, the team’s quarterback, and receivers Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman catch lightning in a bottle for them last season? This season, when all three of them will be playing in the NFL, we’ll find out. Joe Milton III, a Michigan transfer quarterback who impressed during his team’s 31-14 Capital One Orange Bowl victory over Clemson, worked with the No. 1 offense all spring. The sixth-best pocket passer in the ESPN 300, freshman Nicholaus Iamaleava, looked the part. Although he is 6-foot-6, the tempo of coach Josh Heupel’s hurry-up system didn’t overwhelm him. Dont’e Thornton, an Oregon transfer, and receiver Bru McCoy both missed the spring game. If the Volunteers want to compete with Georgia in the SEC East, their defense needs to significantly improve. The preseason polls aren’t decided by the world champion, but it’s no secret that ESPN pays close attention to college football. The nation’s top teams were just announced on their annual SP+ Top 25 list, which is based on a number of variables, including “returning production, recent recruiting, and recent history.”
The top five is made up of the typical suspects. Their top five programs are Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, Alabama, and LSU in that order. Since the top three teams qualified for the College Football Playoff and LSU won the SEC West, few people should be surprised by that. Of course, the storied head coach Nick Saban and the Alabama Crimson Tide are unstoppable. Although viewers are accustomed to seeing those five shows at the top of the mountain, a new face has arisen. The No. 6 team is the Tennessee Volunteers, who rank above schools like Clemson, USC, Texas, Penn State, and more.
Tennessee meets the requirements. They signed quarterback Nico Iamaleava, the top prospect in America, and attracted a class that was universally ranked in the top ten. Despite losing four top-100 NFL Draft picks, they still have a lot of the skill from their historic 2022 team. The Vols are nonetheless convinced that they reloaded and had enough to begin with. Josh Heupel is the head coach, and “Recent History” is putting a lot of faith in him, but he has exceeded all expectations since moving to Knoxville. The Tennessee Vols are far ahead of schedule and intend to advance farther in the upcoming months.