Tennessee Fan-Favorite Accepts Senior Bowl Invitation

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    Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor will have another member of his Volunteer family with him during the 2022 Reece’s Senior Bowl.

    On Wednesday morning, it was announced that Tennessee wide-receiver Velus Jones Jr. would be officially accepting his invitation to the Senior Bowl.

    Jones Jr. will be heading back to his hometown as the fan-favorite from Mobile, AL returns to the same city for the game on Feb. 5, 2022.

    In his second season with Tennessee, Jones Jr was one of Tennessee’s most dynamic receivers and led the team in receiving yards for the majority of the year. Through the regular season, Jones Jr racked up 722 yards on 52 receptions with six touchdowns. All three of those statistics were good for second place on the Tennessee team in 2021.

    In 2020, his first year with Tennessee under Jeremy Pruitt, Jones Jr. collected 280 yards and three touchdowns on 22 receptions. It isn’t hard to see how significant of an impact that head coach Josh Heupel and quarterback Hendon Hooker made on Jones Jr. Throughout the season, Velus has become a fan-favorite on the Tennessee team for his work both on and off the field.

    As a senior this year, Jones Jr did go through the Senior Day festivities last weekend, receiving a raucous cheer from the Neyland Stadium crowd.

    Jones Jr.’s best game in 2021 was against South Carolina when the senior wide receiver hauled in six catches for 103 yards and a touchdown. That number tied his season-high in yards, and his season-high in receptions (8) came against No. 1 Georgia when Jones Jr. went from 44 yards and a touchdown.

    During the Vols’ game against Tennessee Tech on Nov. 18, Jones Jr also took back a 96-yard kick-off to the house for six points. That spontaneous play led Jones Jr. to becoming the SEC Special Teams Player of the Week.

    Last Wednesday morning, Tennessee defensive back Alontae Taylor was the first Tennessee senior to accept a Senior Bowl invitation. Now, it looks as though Jones Jr. will be joining Taylor in Mobile, AL in February.

    The Senior Bowl is an annual event that allows elite players across the country to showcase their talents in front of NFL scouts and coaches. Not to mention, it has been very beneficial for former Vols in recent years. Trey Smith, Jauan Jennings, Josh Palmer, and Darrell Taylor are all former Tennessee players that were participants in the Senior Bowl and helped kick-start their NFL career.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.