WATCH: Hooker, Tillman, Flowers Preview Tennessee Football At SEC Media Days

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    Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker, receiver Cedric Tillman and safety Trevon Flowers accompanied Josh Heupel to Atlanta for the SEC Media Days on Thursday.

    Hooker joined the SEC Network set and the group worked its way down radio row talking to media members from across the south. They also held open interview sessions in the main room of the College Football Hall of Fame. Rocky Top Insider was in attendance at media days and was able to talk to the trio of players.

    Hooker discussed the difference of this offseason compared to last offseason, the children’s book he wrote with his brother and the areas he feels like he’s grown from last season to this season.

    “Just being patient and not trying to rush my reads and not rush my decisions,” Hooker said. “Just being relaxed and in total control of the offense. Trying to lead my teammates is my end goal and motivate them on and off the field. Just having a positive attitude and bring joy every day on and off the field.”

    Tillman discussed how his life has changed in the past year— going from an unknown and unheralded junior to one of the SEC’s top receivers. The Las Vegas native became Tennessee’s first 1,000 yard receiver since 2012 before returning to Knoxville for one final collegiate season.

    Tillman discussed still having doubters, the pressure to return Tennessee football to former glory and why he decided to return for one final seasom.

    “There was still more to prove on the field,” Tillman said. “There are some things that I need to work on. I’m really excited about the season. We have a lot of guys coming back, and I feel like we have some stuff to prove this year.”

    Flowers returned to Atlanta — his hometown — to represent Tennessee at SEC Media Days. The senior safety is one of three returning starters in the Vols’ secondary.

    Flowers discussed how Tennessee’s third down defense can improve, the newcomers in the Vols’ secondary and his growth as a leader entering the season.

    “We have a huge role,” Flowers said. “A lot of the young guys look up to us now, and we just had to bring guys along with us. There are already guys on that side of the ball that understand the
    standard. It’s about elevating our game, elevating our leadership, doing more on and off the
    field, building our relationships with each other and with our teammates. We definitely
    focus on the little stuff, going back in and watching film, critiquing ourselves and just seeing
    what we can work on.”

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.