Former Tennessee Commit, Oak Ridge Native Heading to the Super Bowl

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    It didn’t take long for one local native to reach the final game of the NFL’s season. In his second NFL season, former Oak Ridge High School graduate and current Cincinnatti Bengals’ wide receiver Tee Higgins is officially heading to Super Bowl LVI after a win on Sunday.

    Higgins’ Bengals took down the reigning AFC champions, the Kansas City Chiefs, by a score of 27-24 in overtime.

    In the AFC Championship game, the Oak Ridge native had a game-high 103 receiving yards on six catches against a stout Kansas City defense.

    A five-star prospect in the class of 2017, Higgins was ranked by 247 Sports Composite as the third-best player in the state of Tennessee and the second-best receiving prospect in the country.

    In August of 2015, sixteen-year-old Higgins announced his commitment to Butch Jones and Tennessee. However, just six months after his commitment, the Oak Ridge standout announced his decommitment from the Vols. Following the news, in July of 2016, Higgins made his commitment to Clemson.

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    Higgins was drafted out in the 2020 NFL Draft by Cincinnatti in the second round with the 33rd overall pick. In his rookie season, Higgins was a key target for fellow draftee Joe Burrow, a rising star out of LSU. Higgins had 908 yards and six touchdown catches on 67 receptions in 2020. And now, in 2021, Higgins has only stepped up his game, even despite the addition of breakout receiver Ja’Marr Chase.

    In the 2021 regular season, Higgins had 1,091 yards and six touchdowns on 74 receptions in just 14 games. And now, in three playoff games so far, Higgins has added 209 yards on 14 receptions.

    At the time of this publication, the Bengals’ Super Bowl opponent is currently unknown. However, the San Francisco 49ers were leading the Los Angeles Rams, 10-7, at halftime. The Bengals and Oak Ridge native Tee Higgins will take on the winner of the NFC Championship game.

    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.