What Josh Heupel has done with the Tennessee Volunteers over the past two seasons has been nothing short of astounding. Although Tennessee had found some success in the recruiting circles under Jeremy Pruitt, the teams underwhelmed consistently.
That has changed with Heupel’s wide-open offense. And while it may not be the best offense for evaluating professional prospects, there is no denying that NFL Draft talent lives on the Volunteers roster.
Tennessee Volunteers Roster and Depth Chart Changes
The Volunteers lost quite a bit of offensive talent in the 2023 NFL Draft, including their right tackle, QB, and top two WRs. After spending three seasons trying to win the starting job at Michigan, Joe Milton has spent the last two fighting against Hendon Hooker, proving unsuccessful on both occasions.
However, Milton appears incredibly talented, as do a few of the wide receivers on the roster and a tight end transfer that has NFL scouts hot and bothered.
Tennessee boasts the 10th-best recruiting class, signing the second-best QB recruit in the nation, Nico Iamaleava. Only Arch Manning outpaced him in recruiting rankings.
The transfer portal wasn’t as prosperous, but Tennessee found talent in Dont’e Thornton Jr., McCallan Castles, and Keenan Pili.
Tennessee Volunteers NFL Draft Prospects
Joe Milton, QB
Milton will be a polarizing prospect for a multitude of reasons. He has Madden create-a-player size and a high-caliber arm. Additionally, he is an outstanding athlete who can create outside of structure.
There will undoubtedly be comparisons to Anthony Richardson, but he isn’t the runner Richarson is, and Richardson is two years younger than Milton is.
However, Milton must grow mentally as a passer, particularly because of the offense he plays in. There is no room for a slow trigger in an offense that gives QBs almost every answer to the test and will require a steep learning curve at the NFL level.
McCallan Castles, TE
If it feels weird to consider Castles one of the Volunteers’ most renowned NFL Draft prospects, you’d be well within your right. The TE originally went to California but has spent time more recently at UC Davis.
He’s an outstanding athlete, which is the reason why despite playing at a lower level for quite some time, he is regarded as a serious 2024 NFL Draft prospect. With a strong season in Knoxville, his stock could rise significantly.
Javontez Spraggins, G
Javontez Spraggins is a hoss on the right side of the Volunteers’ offensive line. But despite being a sturdily-built right guard, he also possesses light feet that move well laterally against quick defensive linemen. His build and heavy hands also make him a strong point-of-attack run blocker.
Spraggins has played over 1,600 snaps over the past two seasons, and we have seen clear improvement in his consistency and technique in that time. If he further improves the consistency of his strike placement, he could seriously improve his draft stock before April.
Other Notable Names
- Bru McCoy, WR
- Gerald Mincey, OT
- John Campbell, OT
- Kamal Hadden, DB
- Roman Harrison, LB
- Dont’e Thornton, WR
- Tyler Baron, EDGE
- Jaylen Wright, RB
Tennessee Volunteers Schedule
- Week 1
Sept. 2: vs. Virginia Cavaliers (Neutral Site)
- Week 2
Sept. 9: vs. Austin Peay Governors
- Week 3
Sept. 16: at Florida Gators
- Week 4
Sept. 23: vs. UTSA Roadrunners
- Week 5
Sept. 30: vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
- Week 6
- Week 7
Oct. 14: vs. Texas A&M Aggies
- Week 8
Oct. 21: at Alabama Crimson Tide
- Week 9
Oct. 28: at Kentucky Wildcats
- Week 10
Nov. 4: vs. UConn Huskies
- Week 11
Nov. 11: at Missouri Tigers
- Week 12
Nov. 18: vs. Georgia Bulldogs
- Week 13
Nov. 25: vs. Vanderbilt Commodores
- Week 14
- Week 15
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