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Josh Heupel praises talent in Tennessee wide receiver room

Barkley-Truaxby:Barkley Truax03/27/24


Tennessee‘s receiver corps features a mix of experience and potential heading into the 2024 college basketball season.

With a handful of spring practices under their belt, Vols head coach Josh Heupel revealed his initial thoughts of his wide receiver room after a few days of gauging their performances on the field.

“We’ve got some vets that have played some ball. Squirrel White, Bru [McCoy] is coming back through his rehab, meshing that with some new guys inside of our program that are continuing to develop. It’s the deepest that we’ve been at that position since I’ve been here. Athleticism, competitiveness, going up and attack the football. Guys can win one-on-one. Really excited about the development of that group.”

White has been with the Vols for the past two seasons and has continued to improve since arriving on campus. In two years in Knoxville, White has compiled 1,284 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He logged a career best 803 yards in 2023.

For McCoy, he only performed in five games for the Vols this past season, finishing the year with 17 receptions and 217 yards after logging a career-high 52 receptions the year prior. Dont’e Thornton is another wideout that had his season halted with injuries and could also be grouped in that same class despite not being mentioned by his head coach.

With White and McCoy expected to lead the group — one player from the Vols WR corps that could have a breakout season in Knoxville is incoming five-star talent Mike Matthews. Matthews’ reputation precedes him as the No. 22 overall prospect in the 2024 class. His record-setting high school career consisted of 25 touchdown receptions to go with 2,545 receiving yards on 135 receptions. In 2022 alone, he compiled 48 receptions for 1,030 yards and 9 touchdowns and will look to continue that production for the Vols.

If Matthews meets initial expectations, 2023 five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava will be throwing him the football with the potential to the Vols No. 1 receiving option. Heupel’s fast-tempo offense could be predicated on how these two playmakers connect in the coming years — and it starts in 2024.

Fans will get their first taste of what Tennessee’s wide receiving corps will be during the annual Orange & White game, which is set for April 13 inside Neyland Stadium. The spring game is set for 1 p.m. ET, however, Tennessee has set max capacity at 10,000 fans due to construction inside the stadium.