Tennessee wrapped up its first week of Fall Camp 2020 on Saturday night at Neyland Stadium and the indoor complex, setting up the Vols to go full pads this week.
As we discussed on “The Drive” earlier Monday, there are some players who have already turned some heads when in comes to production on the practice field, though it’s still early on.
Malachi Wideman was finally able to show off some of his skills this past weekend, and according to one source had some “ungodly catches” during the practice. As one person put it, “He reminds me of a more athletic Justin Hunter,” which should be a welcomed sign for a wide receiver just getting going when it comes to practice work.
Another receiver who’s impressing folks during these early practices is freshman Jalin Hyatt, who is said to be “Freaky Fast, with fantastic hands.” The Vols will take every bit of help they can get at the WR spot, as Tennessee looks to replace Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings. Josh Palmer is “Taking care of business and looking to build upon last season, while being the leader in the group,” encouraging words for Tennessee fans that are hoping he has the breakout year that many are hoping.
At the QB position, its been Jarrett Guarantano leading the group with the 1’s, but JT Shrout had himself a really good week, with one source saying “It seems he’s really putting forth the effort in practice to let it be known he’s ready when needed.” Continuing with Shrout, another person in the program said “He’s definitely slinging that football, he had some pretty throws the last few practices of the week.”
With Harrison Bailey not allowed to practice this past week, we will see how he fits into the rotation once he returns to the field.
Jeremy Banks has come back to the Tennessee squad with a purpose. “He has picked things up quite well and definitely has a knack of getting to the ball. He’s done extremely well, considering how much time he missed.”
One quote that stuck out to me from a source regarding Banks is “He is having fun, you can tell he’s not forcing a smile anymore, it just feels like a different JB, it’s really great to see.”
Bryce Thompson and Alontae Taylor are playing as expected I am told in the secondary, with Trevon Flowers and Tank McCollough getting a good amount of run with the 1’s. Theo Jackson also had a good week, as Jeremy Pruitt continues to rotate different guys around that defensive backfield.
Keeping on the defensive side, Latrell Bumphus, Matthew Butler and Elijah Simmons will be ones to keep an eye on, as Tennessee looks to build up its DL depth.
Now, the RB position has been a hot topic within the complex, as Eric Gray continues to show his leadership and is pushing to build off a great end to the 2019 season.
As one source said regarding Gray, “Eric is so much better than last year, last season he might not have been a every down back, but now he’s a guy I could see leading the SEC in rushing behind that offensive line.”
Though it seems like a lot of pressure, it’s not hard to see why that quote could resonate with people. Gray should have a much more cohesive offensive line to run behind this upcoming season.
One week down, long ways to go. So, with pads coming on this week, we’ll see who continues an upward trend and who can turn their week one performance around.
To hear our conversation from “The Drive” today, click the link below.
Keep up with Fox Sports Knoxville for continuing coverage of Fall Camp 2020, as Tennessee continues their preparation for the season.
All images are courtesy of Tennessee Athletic Communications