Tennessee’s wide receiver group looked more like the cast on the final week of Survivor than a fully functional unit on Tuesday evening as the Vols began their final week of spring practice.
A group that the Vols hope is approximately 10-deep come fall was down to just a trio of scholarship players in Preston Williams, Jeff George and Cody Blanc.
“It’s been a challenge with the overall health of the wide receiver position now with Jauan Jennings and Vincent Perry being out, so that’s been a challenge in itself,” Butch Jones said following practice on Tuesday. “We always know everything is about timing, it just hasn’t been Josh, but it’s been Quinten as well. But I think the receivers have stepped up. I think Preston Williams has grown leaps and bounds this training camp and I think that’s a direct correlation to the number of reps he’s had.”
Jones went on to confirm that Jennings and Perry, a pair of second-year players, are out for the remainder of spring and won’t be back until “mid-June.” They join an already extensive list of 16 total other players out for the spring, giving the Vols at least 18 on the shelf for Saturday’s Orange and White Game.
Josh Smith also sat out on Tuesday, though Jones did say he expects him back by Saturday. Josh Malone, the team’s leading returning wide receiver, has been held out all of spring. The Vols will have four freshmen join the group over the summer as well in Brandon Johnson, Latrell Williams, Corey Henderson and Marquez Callaway.
For now the Vols will have to wrap up the final two sessions of spring football with just three or four scholarship options at the position.