3. Tyler Byrd (Fr.), Wide Receiver
The Vols plucked Tyler Byrd the night before National Signing Day, as the nation’s No. 87 overall prospect and No. 10 defensive back took to Periscope to announce his flip from Miami to UT, where he would be joining high-school teammate, roommate and best friend running back Carlin Fils-Aime, who also signed with UT.
Byrd has probably received the most attention from the group of freshmen, and rightly so. He has been listed as Tennessee’s fastest player, with a top speed of 23.7 mph. In the 2016 Army All-American game, Byrd made the highlight reel with an interception and returned a blocked point-after attempt.
Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni was convinced that he could turn the high school defensive back into a full-time receiver, and it looks to be the best decision. Byrd has all the talent and size to contribute early on in the slot position. Josh Smith is mentoring Byrd and has shared his own praises for the talented freshman. Azzanni recently said that he has five or six receivers that are game ready, as of a few days ago. It’s a good bet that Byrd is one of them. Expect to see him in the opener against Appalachian State, and all season long.