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Jauan Jennings Ready For Instant Impact

Jauan Jennings-1

Freshmen come in all types of packages – some needing a redshirt, or at least an easing into a significant role on the team.

And when you throw in a position change, for example the one Jauan Jennings undertook over the offseason from quarterback to receiver, it’s a safe assumption that the time frame might expand a bit to get the hang of SEC-level football. But, at least according to Butch Jones, Jennings isn’t following the pattern of many freshmen.

“It has exceeded our expectations right away,” Butch Jones said on Saturday of Jennings’ position switch. “Usually there is a learning curve. Usually what happens is, in a learning curve, in a transition of taking a person and moving them to another position, first of all, they come out doing well because there’s not a lot of thinking. You are very limited in your install, so the recall is easy. Then all of a sudden, the more install you do, the more the mind slows down, the feet slow down because you’re working in more techniques. You’re working at your conditioning. You’re working on a heavy volume of install, so all of a sudden the game becomes really fast and there’s a lot of moving parts and pieces.

“That has not affected Jauan. I think him being here in the spring, playing quarterback, understanding the offense, he’s been able to make that adjustment of moving to receiver. Yes, the transition that he’s made – and a lot of it is in your attitude and your daily approach. As we all know, he’s exceptionally competitive and he has applied that in the learning curve as well.”

It’s a move that’s made sense on multiple levels. The quarterback position has a three-man depth chart of Joshua Dobbs, Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones that the Vols feel comfortable with in 2015. Commitments are stacking up for the future as well at QB with the addition of elite 2017 signal caller Hunter Johnson on Sunday and 2016 QB Jarrett Guarantano, ranked as high as the second dual-threat QB in the nation, also on board.

Receiver, meanwhile, remains a work in progress for Tennessee. Von Pearson’s return this camp has certainly helped that position, though five-star freshman Preston Williams remains in eligibility limbo, while Marquez North, Jason Croom, Josh Smith, Pig Howard and Cody Blanc have all missed at least some portion of camp with various injuries.

The Vols certainly have some talent at the position, but Jones wasn’t shy after Saturday’s practice/scrimmage about sharing his feeling on if Jennings can contribute early.

“I can answer that right away: Yes,” Jones said. “He’s another young man who’s playing with a high energy level. [He’s] playing with a lot of confidence. He’s got that look in his eye. He’s not missed one rep. He’s on just about every single special teams. And, again, I don’t know if people understand, the biggest thing from transitioning from quarterback to wide receiver is the volume of running. You’re basically lacing your shoes up, and you’re going non-stop, and really being in football condition. I’ve never, not once, heard him complain about it. He’s welcomed it.

“You can see his technique getting better. We all know he has a great vertical, he has a very good adjustment to the ball in the air, he has very good initial quickness, and he’s been a great addition to that room. He’s pushing everyone else, and I think that helps. As we all know, you can never have enough competition.”

Some practice clips of Jennings this fall:

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