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Tennessee’s Chris Brazzell Makes Terrific Catch in 11-on-11 Drill

Chris Brazzell
Tennessee WR Chris Brazzell at spring camp. Photo via RTI.

Tennessee picked up a blue-chip transfer portal prospect over the offseason with former Tulane wide receiver Chris Brazzell II.

Brazzell, a 6-foot-5 redshirt sophomore receiver, earned All-American Athletic Conference third-team honors with Tulane last season after leading the Green Wave with 711 yards and five touchdowns on 44 receptions throughout the fall. With Bru McCoy returning from injury and Dont’e Thornton only entering his second year with the program, Brazzell gives Tennessee another dynamic option that showed breakout potential in the American Athletic last season.

Donning the No. 11 jersey during spring workouts, Brazzell has been impressive in his limited visibility in front of the media this week. Brazzell’s size and speed were immediately noticeable without pads as he continued to work with starting quarterback Nico Iamaleava.

Brazzell showed some of his athleticism in a connection with Iamaleava during the recording-prohibited portion of practice on Tuesday. The Vols were lined up in an 11-on-11 drill pitting a quickly rotating offense against a quickly rotating defense.

Brazzell lined up on the right side of the offense with Iamaleava behind center. Former Temple transfer defensive back Jalen McMurray was lined up in coverage. When Iamaleava snapped the ball, Brazzell dashed down the sideline toward the endzone. Brazzell broke back toward the right sideline on a 15 to 20-yard comeback route and made a diving catch away from McMurray on the pass from Iamaleava. McMurray was in good coverage, prompting Iamaleava to put the ball far out of his reach. Brazzell made a great play as he hauled in the pass on his way down to the turf.

While impressive plays often get a few reactions from the sidelines, Brazzell’s catch in practice on Tuesday garnered plenty of cheers and shouts from his teammates.

More from RTI: Tennessee Quarterbacks Work Out in New Spring Camp Highlights Video

Without putting too much emphasis on one specific catch during a helmets-only practice on the second day of spring camp, Brazzell does look like he belongs alongside Tennessee’s crop of offensive weapons. The redshirt sophomore receiver has a nice catch radius, good pop during routes, and strong hands.

Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel credited the veteran player’s willingness to help as a reason for Brazzell getting off to a good start in Knoxville.

“For Chris, all of the veteran guys that have been in this, they help him grow in just how to play the game within the game,” Heupel said of Brazzell. “For us, the mechanics, how to process, can be specific routes, but they also help him set the culture of the building. Who we need to be individually and thus, collectively as a group.”

Despite it being only spring practice and the season still 165 days away, Heupel is looking for a sense of urgency from his players whenever they stop on the field. That includes veterans, newcomers, and transfers alike.

“You need to see urgency from everybody that is putting a helmet on and going out to practice,” Heupel said on Monday. “I don’t care how long you have been playing, the best in the game are always working on their craft. That’s Hall of Famers, 15-year vets, and the same at this level. There is constant growth, and all of our guys have areas that our strength staff have pinpointed and our coaches have pinpointed. Areas that they have got to get better at and continue to compete every single day. Guys that compete the hardest and do it the longest are typically the ones that win out. That’s true in a position battle, and that’s true when you get out on the field on a Saturday afternoon too.”

Stay tuned to Rocky Top Insider for more Tennessee football spring camp coverage.

*Video is not of the previously described diving catch from Tuesday’s practice.*

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