3. Jauan Jennings, WR
Barring any sort of injuries, redshirt senior Jauan Jennings should be in store for a strong end to his Tennessee career this upcoming season. That should be enough to make him a hot commodity for NFL teams looking for a talented receiver with tons of intangibles.
Jennings has had his share of off-field issues with the Vols, but it appears as though he’s put all that behind him and has become a strong leader on UT’s offense. The biggest concern with him is showing that he’s fully recovered from knee issues and can be explosive in the passing game like he was in 2016.
As a sophomore in 2016, Jennings made a name for himself with big performances against Florida and Georgia. He finished that season with 40 catches for 580 yards and seven touchdowns, and he looked poised to build off that heading into the 2017 season.
Then, Jennings broke his wrist in the Vols’ season opener against Georgia Tech, and he missed the remainder of the season.
Not only that, but Jennings was unhappy with UT’s coaching staff at the time, and he ended up getting dismissed from the team by interim head coach Brady Hoke before Tennessee’s game against Vanderbilt to end the season after posting a profanity-laced tirade to Instagram.
Once Jeremy Pruitt was hired as head coach and Phillip Fulmer was at the reigns as Athletics Director, Jennings worked himself into their good graces and ended up being reinstated. That wasn’t the only hurdle he had to clear, though; Jennings had to have offseason surgery on his knee, and that kept him out of the spring of 2018 and hampered him throughout fall camp.
Jennings’ knee kept him from being his old self in 2018, but he still was productive despite not being 100 percent. The 6-foot-3, 216-pound receiver still showed plenty of that “dog” in him and finished the season with 30 catches for 438 yards and three scores.
This spring, Jennings looked more or less back to normal in the Orange & White Game, and he was one of the most impressive performers during the event. If he can stay healthy and regain some of that explosiveness he had three years ago, then he’ll be a no-brainer for an NFL team to draft.