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Tennessee Vols Football Fall Camp Intel: Three freshmen shine in first scrimmage

Chandler Vesselsby:Chandler Vessels08/16/22


Tennessee football held it’s first scrimmage of fall camp this past week, leaving plenty to dissect as the season draws nearer. On3’s JD PicKell released a new YouTube video Tuesday to break down the key takeaways beginning with three freshmen who stood out on offense.

“You had some freshmen pop in the fall scrimmage,” PicKell said. “That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna be starters or guys that contribute for you early and often, but it’s a good sign.

Kaleb Webb the receiver, a freshman out of Georgia. He did some really good things. He’s a guy that On3 was actually a lot higher on than the average industry ranking. You had two freshmen backs: Dylan Sampson popped off and then you had Justin Williams-Thomas pop off as well. Both of those guys ran the ball effectively and did a great job getting through the first and second level of the defense and navigating the blitz.”

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All three freshman come in as four-star prospects, with Webb ranking the highest as the No. 203 overall player according to On3 Consensus. Williams-Thomas is not far behind him at No. 228, while Sampson taps in at No. 385. Although PicKell isn’t predicting that they will make an immediate impact this season, he does think it is a good sign of what Heupel is building toward.

“Having these three freshmen play well in your first scrimmage tells you a couple of things,” PicKell said. “First, the future is bright at Tennessee, which should go without saying under Josh Heupel. The second is Tennessee has done a good job of both identifying talent and then developing that talent in the short time these kids have been on campus.

“Any time you can get a talented kid in your program, that’s a great thing. Nobody’s gonna turn down talent. But to be able to take that talent and implement it in your system and give those kids a chance to be successful early, it’s a really big deal. It’s a really key ingredient for success. All the elite programs do that consistently. So for Tennessee to have these three guys all do well in their first scrimmage, it’s not saying they’re gonna be starters. It’s not saying they’re gonna be guys that contribute for you in Week 1. But to have a positive blip on the radar, to have a good foot forward — it’s a very good sign for the Tennessee Volunteers.”

After leading Tennessee to a 7-6 record, Heupel signed the No. 17 recruiting class this offseason according to On3’s Consensus Team Rankings. It is one of the first building blocks for the future of the program, and if last week’s scrimmage is any indication, he is off to a good start. Tennessee will continue to develop its freshman throughout the remainder of fall camp before kicking off the 2022 season on Sept. 1 against Ball State.