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 Draft Scout College Football Player News: Tennessee
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  10/09/21 - Hendon HookerrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-3, 218 (DS#14 QB) + More +

  Hendon Hooker threw for 225 yards and three touchdowns to lead Tennessee to a 45-20 Southeastern Conference victory over South Carolina Saturday. The Volunteers (4-2, 2-1) led 35-0 in the second quarter before the Gamecocks (3-3, 0-3) staged a recovery. Vols' running back Tiyon Evans rushed for 119 yards and a touchdown before leaving midway through the third quarter with an injury.

South Carolina's Kevin Harris scored from a yard out to start the fourth quarter. A missed two-point conversion made the score 38-20. Tennessee's offense generated just 25 offensive yards in the third quarter. Len'Neth Whitehead, replacing the injured Evans at running back, scored Tennessee's last TD from two yards. Trailing by 31 midway through the third quarter, South Carolina had fourth-and-9 on the Tennessee 44. Punter Kai Kroeger hit wide-open Payton Mangrum with what turned out to be a scoring pass and a 38-14 difference. A 28-0 first-quarter lead blossomed to 38-7 by halftime. Hooker completed 15 of 20 passes for 217 yards and three scores in the first 30 minutes. - Tennessee/AP College Football


(DS#14 QB) rSr/2022 QB Hendon HookerTennessee
News Source: Tennessee/AP College Football
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  10/04/21 - Hendon HookerrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-3, 218 (DS#14 QB) + More +

  Hendon Hooker has played well enough to finally earn the starting quarterback job at Tennessee. Volunteers coach Josh Heupel had left open the issue of who his starter is the past five weeks after initially naming Joe Milton, a redshirt junior transfer from Michigan. But an injury to Milton opened the job up to Hooker, a redshirt senior transfer from Virginia Tech. Hooker's performance in a rout of Missouri last weekend was enough for Heupel to finally be named the starter Monday before the Vols host South Carolina on Saturday. Hooker's ball security helped sway his head coach. He has thrown eight TD passes with no interceptions since taking over as the starter Sept. 18. "As much as anything, it's great comfort and understanding what we're doing, the tempo," Heupel said. "He's really in control of what's going on at the line of scrimmage. He's been really decisive with the football. That comes from him having his eyes in the right place." In the 62-24 rout of Missouri, Hooker completed 15 of 19 passes for 225 yards and three touchdowns. He also ran 15 times for 80 yards and a TD as the Tennessee offense looked the closest yet to the fast-paced attack Heupel wants. Tennessee has averaged 44 points and 507.7 yards a game with Hooker starting. - AP College Football

(DS#14 QB) rSr/2022 QB Hendon HookerTennessee
News Source: AP College Football
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  OCT 4 SEC CO-FRESHMAN OF THE WEEK: Len'Neth Whitehead, RB, Tennessee,...Whitehead, a redshirt freshman in just his second career SEC game, rushed for 76 yards on nine carries as Tennessee beat Missouri 62-24 on the road...Whitehead averaged 8.4 yards per carry and added a 10-yard reception to finish with 86 all-purpose yards...Whitehead helped lead a Vol rushing attack that finished with 458 yards on the ground, representing the most rushing yards in a road game in school history and the most overall since rushing for 513 yards against Washington & Lee on Nov. 10, 1951. - SEC Football

(DS#999 RB) rFr/2025 RB LenNeth WhiteheadTennessee
News Source: SEC Football
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  10/04/21 - Cade MaysrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-5, 325 (DS#3 OT) + More +

  OCT 4 SEC OFFENSIVE LINEMAN OF THE WEEK: Cade Mays, OT, Tennessee,...Mays, making the start at right tackle, paved the way for a 683-yard output as Tennessee topped Missouri for a 62-24 road win. Mays did not allow a pressure or a penalty...With the help of Mays, Tennessee finished with 458 yards on the ground, representing the most rushing yards in a road game in school history and the most overall since rushing for 513 yards against Washington & Lee on Nov. 10, 1951...The Vols' 683 yards of total offense were their most since racking up 684 yards at Texas A&M on Oct. 8, 2016...Mays was dominant in a first quarter that saw UT rack up 28 points, the most in the first quarter for the Vols since scoring 35 vs. Arkansas on Nov. 11, 2000. - SEC Football

(DS#3 OT) rSr/2022 OT Cade MaysTennessee
News Source: SEC Football
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  10/02/21 - Tiyon EvansrJr/2023, Tennessee, 5-11, 220 (DS#20 RB) + More +

  Hendon Hooker threw for three touchdowns and ran for another as Tennessee routed Missouri 62-24, scoring touchdowns on its first six possessions Saturday. Hooker completed 15 of 19 passes for 225 yards and rushed 14 times for 74 yards. He wasn't the only Volunteer who padded his stats against a beleaguered defense. Tiyon Evans rushed 15 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns. Tennessee (3-2, 1-1 Southeastern Conference) piled up 677 total yards and never punted. The Volunteers built a 28-3 first-quarter lead without ever needing to run a third-down play. Among the many highlights was Evans' 92-yard touchdown run in which he ran through a massive hole on the right side and wasn't touched by a Missouri defender.

The 92-yard TD run was third-longest in program history. The Tigers (2-3, 0-2 SEC) entered the game ranked 129th out of 130 FBS teams in rushing defense, allowing an average of 269 rushing yards per game. Tennessee had 275 rushing yards in the first half alone as it built a 45-10 lead and finished with 452 yards on the ground. The Tennessee defense contained Missouri's big-play threat, Tyler Badie, holding the running back to 41 yards on 21 carries, and intercepted quarterback Connor Bazelak twice. The best moment for Missouri came on special teams when Kris Abrams-Draine returned a kickoff 100 yards for a touchdown in the third quarter. - Tennessee/AP College Football


(DS#20 RB) rJr/2023 RB Tiyon EvansTennessee
News Source: Tennessee/AP College Football
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  09/18/21 - Hendon HookerrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-3, 218 (DS#14 QB) + More +

  Hendon Hooker threw three touchdown passes and scored one of his own to lead Tennessee to a 56-0 victory over Tennessee Tech Saturday. Hooker, who finished last week's loss to Pittsburgh after Joe Milton went down with an injury, rolled up 199 yards while completing 17 of 25 passes for the Volunteers (2-1). The only negative was a lost fumble in the second quarter. Tennessee Tech (0-3) went through three quarterbacks. The Golden Eagles generated just 179 yards of offense.

With Tennessee leading 49-0 late in the third quarter, Harrison Bailey saw his first action of the season under center. Bailey engineered a fourth-quarter drive, kept it alive with an 8-yard first-down run, then finished off the final two yards for a 56-0 score. The Vols went up 35-0 when Hooker found the end zone from a yard out six minutes into the third quarter. - Tennessee/AP College Football


(DS#14 QB) rSr/2022 QB Hendon HookerTennessee
News Source: Tennessee/AP College Football
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  09/03/21 - Joe Milton IIIrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-5, 244 (DS#27 QB) + More +

  Joe Milton is doing all he can to prepare for his first Tennessee football start. The Michigan transfer quarterback has even studied how the Vols run onto the field at Neyland Stadium. "I have never been through it," Milton said on "Tennessee Prime" on Tuesday. "I saw videos. But the videos I saw, they kind of went opposite ways. I know that is not how it goes now." Milton is in a familiar but different position heading into Tennessee's season opener against Bowling Green on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, SEC Network).

The junior won a quarterback battle at Michigan prior to the 2020 season. He did it again at Tennessee, winning the position during the preseason. But Milton felt differently when Vols coach Josh Heupel appointed him QB1. "My first time being named the starter at Michigan, I was very excited," Milton said. "I was walking around with my chest out. Just felt like I couldn't be touched. After my situation that happened over there and all that happened and I became the starter here, I was humbled. "I learned my lesson from what I did previously." - Knoxville News Sentinel


(DS#27 QB) rJr/2023 QB Joe Milton IIITennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  09/02/21 - Jabari SmallSo/2024, Tennessee, 5-10, 206 (DS#44 RB) + More +

  If Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel's offense is going to work, its got to start on the ground. The Volunteers' 38-6 season-opening win over Bowling Green on Thursday night was a perfect example of how the first-year coach's up-tempo attack can function on all cylinders. The Vols struggled with just 67 yards rushing and led 14-6 at halftime. With a focus on the ground assault, they amassed 259 yards and separated themselves from the Falcons.

Jabari Small finished with 124 yards rushing with two touchdowns. Tiyon Evans added 116 yards on the ground and a touchdown. "Offensively there were times where we were clicking, played efficiently," said Heupel. "Other times there were things we could control that we didn't operate as efficiently as we can. Going to need to clean those things up as we move deeper into the season." Tennessee quarterback Joe Milton, a transfer from Michigan, ran for two scores and was 11-of-23 passing for 140 yards. His only completion of the second half was a 40-yard touchdown to Cedric Tillman. - Tennessee/AP College Football


(DS#44 RB) So/2024 RB Jabari SmallTennessee
News Source: Tennessee/AP College Football
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  09/01/21 - Joe Milton IIIrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-5, 244 (DS#27 QB) + More +

  Josh Heupel sat in a high school football coach's office in 2017 when the question he traveled 1,100 miles to answer was asked. What would you do with Joe Milton? It surely intrigued Heupel, the Missouri offensive coordinator who was recruiting Milton, a blue-chip quarterback from Orlando's Olympia High. Milton had one of the strongest arms of any quarterback Heupel had seen. And that's saying a lot considering he coached two Heisman Trophy-winning quarterbacks and finished runner-up for the award himself as an Oklahoma quarterback.

Heupel's answer surprised Kyle Hayes, the high school coach who asked it. Heupel said Milton should throw the football short and softly. "Just because a guy has a big arm, it doesn't mean they should only do big things with that arm," Hayes recalled Heupel telling him. "Give Joe confidence throws. Complete short passes, build his confidence and then take deep shots." That's the closest Heupel had come to coaching Milton, who played three seasons at Michigan, until he transferred to Tennessee this summer. Fast-forward four years from that recruiting visit, and Heupel and Milton are finally together. Coach and quarterback will debut for the Vols against Bowling Green on Thursday (8 p.m. ET, SEC Network) when that advice might be put to good use. Heupel announced Milton as his starting quarterback on Monday after a preseason competition with Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker and sophomore Harrison Bailey. - Knoxville News Sentinel


(DS#27 QB) rJr/2023 QB Joe Milton IIITennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/31/21 - Joe Milton IIIrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-5, 244 (DS#27 QB) + More +

  Tennessee first-year coach Josh Heupel is turning to a former Wolverine to open the season as the team's starting quarterback. Heupel, who spent the previous three years at Central Florida, announced Monday that ex-Michigan quarterback Joe Milton will start behind center for the Volunteers in their opener Thursday against Bowling Green. "Joe, his grasp on our offense in the short amount of time he developed here in the early portion of training camp, his acceleration of what we're doing, his physical attributes and his decision-making led us to put the ball in his hands," Heupel said.

Despite joining the program in April after spring practices, Milton beat out Virginia Tech transfer Hendon Hooker and sophomore Harrison Bailey, a top-100 recruit in the 2020 class who started the final three games for Tennessee last season, for the No. 1 job. Last season at Michigan, Milton won the starting job over Cade McNamara and Dylan McCaffrey and had a solid start to the season, completing 15 of 22 passes for 225 yards and a touchdown while rushing for 52 yards and a score in a win over Minnesota. - Ann Arbor News


(DS#27 QB) rJr/2023 QB Joe Milton IIITennessee
News Source: Ann Arbor News
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  08/26/21 - Cade MaysrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-5, 325 (DS#3 OT) + More +

  Tennessee earned a preseason All-SEC honor in all three phases of the game Tuesday. Senior offensive lineman Cade Mays, a Knoxville native, was voted to the first team by the league's coaches. He could start at guard or tackle. Cornerback Alontae Taylor, a Manchester native, made the third team. He had 29 tackles and five pass breakups last season and enters this year as one of the Vols' best defenders. Punter Paxton Brooks was voted to the second team. He averaged 43.6 yards per punt in 2020 and ranked fourth in the SEC. Mays, Taylor and Brooks were also voted to the preseason All-SEC team voted on by the media, which was released in July. - Knoxville News Sentinel

(DS#3 OT) rSr/2022 OT Cade MaysTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/20/21 - KRojhn CalbertrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-5, 325 (DS#41 OT) + More +

  Offensive lineman K'Rojhn Calbert had surgery for an undisclosed injury and "will not be with us for an extended period of time," Heupel said. Calbert was sidelined during Tennessee's practice Monday. The senior offensive lineman was in uniform but without pads. He stood to the side during stretching, then left the practice field. Calbert has played in 32 games with five starts at right tackle. He made all of his starts in 2019, including starting two of the final three games. The 6-foot-5, 325-pound Calbert worked as the second-string right tackle during the first week of preseason practice. - Knoxville News Sentinel

(DS#41 OT) rSr/2022 OT KRojhn CalbertTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/20/21 - Cedric TillmanrJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-2, 215 (DS#72 WR) + More +

  Kodi Burns identified a physical attribute and a mental characteristic in Cedric Tillman when he joined the Tennessee football staff in February. The Vols wide receivers coach noted Tillman's big frame. He also identified that Tillman didn't have a whole lot of confidence. "Right now, I think he is starting to play more confident," Burns said Wednesday. "I think he is starting to play big." Tillman has played sparingly in his three seasons at Tennessee. The redshirt junior has made eight catches for 124 yards in 25 games with two starts. But he could be primed to break out under Josh Heupel's up-tempo system that Velus Jones Jr. has described as a wide receiver's dream. "I think he has has got a really good chance to be a really good player in this league," Burns said. Tillman, who signed with the Vols in 2018 out of Las Vegas Bishop Gorman, gives Burns and Heupel a different option at wide receiver. He's not as flashy as Jones or Jalin Hyatt. He's not as shifty as Jimmy Calloway or JaVonta Payton. - Knoxville News Sentinel

(DS#72 WR) rJr/2023 WR Cedric TillmanTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/18/21 - Brian MaurerJr/2023, Tennessee, 6-2, 195 (DS#999 QB) + More +

  Tennessee quarterback Brian Maurer, who apparently had dropped to fourth string, was not at practice Wednesday. Maurer has not entered the NCAA transfer portal. However, that database usually takes more than one day to update once a player starts the process. Maurer has not appeared injured in previous practices, and classes have not yet begun for the fall semester. The Vols will hold a intrasquad scrimmage, which will be closed to media, on Thursday. Until then, coach Josh Heupel will not be available for comment.

Last week, Maurer explained why he stayed at Tennessee rather than enter the transfer portal like quarterbacks Jarrett Guarantano and J.T. Shrout did after last season. "My family raised a fighter," Maurer said. "I am going to keep swinging until the day I can't swing no more. I am going to give everything I can to this university." All Tennessee quarterbacks are at practice -- except Brian Maurer. Maurer's potential departure - or, at least, absence - slightly simplifies a quarterback battle that had already pushed him out of contention. He appeared to be No. 4 in the rotation from practice sessions open to media. - Knoxville News Sentinel


(DS#999 QB) Jr/2023 QB Brian MaurerTennessee
News Source: Knoxville News Sentinel
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  08/17/21 - JaVonta PaytonrSr/2022, Tennessee, 6-1, 180 (DS#80 WR) + More +

  JaVonta Payton stayed busy as a Mississippi State receiver the past two seasons. Now a graduate transfer at Tennessee, the 6-foot-1, 180-pounder from Nashville believes he can have more of an impact in Josh Heupel's up-tempo offense than he did a year ago in Mike Leach's "Air Raid" attack. "With the Air Raid, it was a lot of sitting down in zones and reading the defenses," Payton said during a recent news conference. "I go deep a lot more now than I did when I was at State, so I would definitely say that this offense is more comfortable for me. I think I can bring a lot of speed to this offense. "I can run. Any DB that lines up with me needs to be ready to run."

Payton, who has one season of eligibility with the Volunteers, insists that sophomore receiver Jalin Hyatt and freshman defensive back De'Shawn Rucker are the only teammates who could potentially top him in a race. He has switched Southeastern Conference locales after tallying 28 catches for 372 yards and a touchdown during his stint in Starkville, which followed two seasons at Northwest (Mississippi) Community College. Tennessee's receiver position, like many others, was noticeably affected by departures following last season. Josh Palmer became a third-round pick of the Los Angeles Chargers, while Brandon Johnson transferred to Central Florida and Malachi Wideman to Jackson State. - Chattanooga Times Free Press


(DS#80 WR) rSr/2022 WR JaVonta PaytonTennessee
News Source: Chattanooga Times Free Press
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