‘He’s Not Slow’: Heupel Impressed by Squirrel White’s Speed After Day One

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    Tennessee fans will grow to know newcomer Marquarius White over the course of this season and the following ones. However, that isn’t the exact name that people will be familiar with – it’s Squirrel White.

    After committing to Tennessee in July of 2021, the Pinson, Alabama native officially enrolled at Tennessee the following January. In just half a year working with the team, and only one official fall camp practice under his belt as of Monday morning, the freshman wide receiver is already turning heads.

    After Monday’s first practice on the grass for the Volunteers, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel spoke highly of the new wide receiver.

    “He’s not slow, that’s for sure,” Heupel said with a grin to open his thought. “Squirrel is competitive, really smart. Mature in the way he handles himself in the building and in the meeting room. Physically, taking care of his body. His ability for the game, not to be moving too fast. Really almost from day one in the way that he’s handled what we do offensively.”

    More from RTI: Tennessee Football Practice Highlights – No. 1

    Tennessee is already boasting a fairly deep wide receiver room, depending on how fall camp adds on to some of the off-season work that guys like Jimmy Calloway and Walker Merrill have been putting in. The Vols had Cedric Tillman, Jalin Hyatt, and Ramel Keyton working in the starting unit today, with transfer wide receiver Bru McCoy also running with the two’s. That also isn’t including Tennessee’s pair of 6-foot-3 freshmen in Kaleb Webb and Chas Nimrod.

    “I’m excited to see all three of those guys,” Tennessee OC Alex Golesh said on Sunday. “Jalin had a really, really good spring, Jimmy finished spring really well, and Squirrel was so exciting to see this spring, just because of what his mental makeup is, what his skillset is. Squirrel, in so many ways, is mature beyond his years.”

    However, regardless of the depth through fall camp, the Vols’ coaching staff is looking at White’s impressive tools as valuable tools to use in the up-tempo offensive scheme.

    “He needs to have a great camp for us and believe that he will,” Heupel said. “He’s truly fearless. He’s not the biggest guy, but he is fearless. He’s going to stick his face in any physical situation that he needs to.”

    As Heupel mentioned, despite standing at just 5-foot-10, White’s motor and energy were already on display during day one of camp.

    Just last week, during SEC Media Days in Atlanta, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker also called Squirrel White out by name as someone that he had taken notice of before camp. In fact, it was the whole freshman trio that did the trick for the second-year Tennessee quarterback.

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

    Tennessee will return to the practice field on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday this week before more weekend practices. As the days go by with the season approaching, we should be able to see a little bit more of how the Vols are thinking about using White for the upcoming season.

    Check out RTI’s Tennessee practice observations here and RTI’s Tennessee practice highlights from Monday here.

    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.