Squirrel White and ‘The Big Three’ Are Already Impressing Hendon Hooker

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    Tennessee brought in a trio of solid wide receiver talents in Josh Heupel’s 2022 recruiting class featuring Marquarius “Squirrel” White, Chas Nimrod, and Kaleb Webb.

    While all three players prepare for fall camp to start next week in Knoxville, the trio has already been putting in work throughout the spring and summer. So much so, that starting quarterback Hendon Hooker has taken notice.

    While speaking at SEC Media Days last week, Hooker talked about all three of the freshman wideouts.

    “K. Webb, Chas Nimrod, and Squirrel White,” Hooker said with a smile during his interview. “That’s the big three for me, definitely.”

    With each player bringing something different and unique to the table, Hooker has been impressed with their ability to come in and start competing right away. From the day he got to campus, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel has been preaching a mentality of competition. Heupel wants competitors, and according to Hooker, he found some in the freshman class.

    “Those young guys coming in and really getting into the offense early,” Hooker said. “Those guys were with us during our bowl prep. So it was cool to see them come in as high schoolers and compete. They’re in there with the one-on-ones. I remember K. Webb had a fade ball, and he jumped out of the gym. I was like, ‘Woah!'”

    Hooker wasn’t necessarily surprised by the talent of the freshmen when they arrived on campus. However, he hadn’t seen much of their film prior to their arrival. So for Hooker, everything was new and exciting when it came to first playing with the freshman.

    “I hadn’t gotten to see that film (of each receiver in HS),” Hooker continued on to say. “Us being in season, I’m focused on the next team that we were playing. So really being able to see those guys out there in full action against college competition, it was cool to see them come in as high schoolers and do that.”

    White, a 5-foot-10, 160-pound receiver from Birmingham, is an absolute dart on the field. The receiver has breakaway speed that left spring practice spectators in awe just a few months ago.

    In early April, Jalin Hyatt said that White reminds him of himself with the “small stature and elite speed.”

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    On the other hand, Webb and Nimrod are both big, powerful targets standing at 6-foot-3. To steal a term from Hooker, that “big three”, while still young, almost resembles the ideal wide receiver unit in today’s age of college football. Two big-bodied receivers on the outside to go up over a cornerback and someone with elite speed and quickness on the inside as a slot receiver.

    Thanks to the help of Tennessee’s electric receivers, the Vols finished the 2021 season with the No. 9 offense in the nation last season. Receivers such as JaVonta Payton and Velus Jones Jr are gone from the team, but the depth still remains good. Tennessee brought in transfer wide receiver Bru McCoy from USC during the offseason and will rely on returners Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman for some serious production this season.

    Tillman, a Third Team Preseason All-American selection entering the year, led Tennessee in receptions, yards, and touchdown catches last season.

    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.