Tinkerbell is down!
Local product Devrin Young (Bearden High School) was signed to become the immediate solution to Tennessee's problems in the return game. And it wouldn't have been hard: the Vols were 68th nationally in kick returns and 109th in punt returns last season. The 5'8" speedster may have even gotten a shot at some specialty packages in the offensive gameplan.
But now all of that has changed: Young is out four to six weeks with a collarbone injury according to VolQuest ($). The best case scenario could still have him back in time for the season opener, but would the Vols really put him out there to return kicks without any time in practice?
If that answer is no, who else can we expect to see in the return game? "Anyone who can catch it" is a good starting point. Last year UT used Eric Gordon, Justin Hunter, Janzen Jackson, and Anthony Anderson returning punts, and none stood out for any of the right reasons. Da'Rick Rogers and Rajion Neal have experience returning kicks, with Rogers showing some flashes of brilliance there. Or the Vols could go to one of their other freshmen in that role, with plenty of athletes to choose from.
Still, this job was supposed to be Young's the day he signed his scholarship papers. It's unfortunate for him and for the Vols, who will open fall practice in search of answers on special teams yet again.