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Nico Iamaleava Recruiting Bru McCoy To Return For His Super Senior Season

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Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava called the Vols’ Citrus Bowl matchup against Iowa “the beginning of the 2024 season” when he met with the media in Orlando on Thursday.

It’s Iamaleava’s first career start and a number of other young players are also stepping into a larger roles against the Hawkeyes due to injuries and transfers.

But Iamaleava won’t have every weapon at his disposal in the Citrus Bowl that he will next season. Tulane transfer receiver Chris Brazzell II and Notre Dame transfer tight end Holden Staes obviously aren’t eligible to play while receiver Dont’e Thornton will miss the bowl game with an injury.

Another Vol receiver that won’t play in Citrus Bowl but Tennessee hopes to have back next fall is Bru McCoy. The former Southern Cal receiver missed the final seven games of the regular season after suffering fractured-dislocation of his right ankle in Tennessee’s win over South Carolina.

McCoy still has one more year of eligibility remaining but hasn’t announced whether he will return to Knoxville or move on with his football future. Iamaleava is working his hardest to make sure he returns for one final season.

“I’m trying to get Bru back,” Iamaleava said on Thursday. “It’s huge, man. I think a guy like that coming back, he’ll be the leader of the receiver room— we’ll be a little young next year, so just him coming back would be huge for me and I’m working on it.”

More From RTI: Everything Nico Iamaleava Said Before First Career Start

McCoy caught 17 passes for 217 yards and one touchdown in just over four games during the 2023 season after catching 52 passes for 667 yards and four touchdowns during the 2022 season— his first at Tennessee. The former five-star recruit is also an elite blocker who is an important part of Tennessee’s running game.

Getting McCoy back would be a major win for the Vols entering the 2024 season due to his skillset and veteran presence. Tennessee’s offensive coaches praised McCoy’s leadership in the young receiver room after he suffered the ankle injury in early October.

Ramel Keyton is the only Tennessee receiver who definitively won’t be on the roster for the 2024 season. Sophomores Squirrel White, Kaleb Webb and Chas Nimrod in addition to Thornton are expected to be back next season. The Vols also landed Brazzell in the transfer portal over a handful of west coast powers and are pursuing Texas A&M star receiver Evan Stewart.

But before the 2024 season, Tennessee faces Iowa in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl on New Years Day at 1 p.m. ET. ABC is broadcasting the game.

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