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Jauan Jennings is Crucial on and off the Field for Tennessee

Jauan Jennings is one of the only players in Tennessee’s receiving corps with actual playing experience. Tyler Byrd is coming off a solid freshman year, but he’s still just a sophomore this year. Marquez Callaway has one career catch. Josh Smith has seen a lot in three years, but he has injury concerns.

But Jennings isn’t just making an impact on the field. He’s the clear leader in a crowded room of young players.

“It’s not so much of a boss mentality, it’s ‘I’m a brother so I’m here for you whenever you need it,'” Jennings said on Sunday during the Vols’ media day. “I’m more of a ‘we can watch film and break it down’ type of guy. But you can never play the game as another person. (Someone else) is going to see the game completely differently as I’m going to see it.”

Behind Jennings, there’s a lot of competition for playing time. Byrd and Callaway have inside tracks, but freshman Josh Palmer and sophomore Brandon Johnson have both impressed in fall camp as well.

No one is shying away from that competitive atmosphere. According to Jennings, it comes with the territory.

“It’s an environment that’s set,” Jennings stated. “You come to the University of Tennessee, you’re SEC. That alone should bring (competitiveness) to the table. You should come here expecting to compete.

“Coming in the receiving room, they definitely know the way I play. There’s no time to play around. There’s nothing but competitiveness around the room.”

So how does Jennings handle that competition? By watching film.

Nonstop. All the time.

“We have film on our phones. I watch film throughout the day,” Jennings said. “I wake up and just want to watch film. I love watching film. I love finding out new defenses, new ways to get them. I’ve been watching Georgia Tech. That’s all I worry about.”

Butch Jones will be glad to hear that Jennings stated he doesn’t watch film while in class. But that’s probably the only time of day when he isn’t breaking down defenses on his phone.

“It’s something I’ve been inspired with,” Jennings said. “Before I was a receiver, I was a quarterback. And before I was a quarterback, I was a safety. I always liked defense. Being a quarterback, I was always with my quarterback coach and head coach. We were always on those X’s and O’s.”

The junior had nearly five times the yards last season as he did his freshman season. Jennings went from just 14 catches for 149 yards in 2015 to 40 catches for 580 yards and 7 touchdowns last year. He averaged just over 40 yards per game a year ago. In order for Tennessee to be successful this season, he’ll need to take another step forward and improve those stats even more.

If Jennings’ obsessive level of preparation translates onto the field in 2017, Tennessee’s opponents need to look out.

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