When asked about senior receiver Josh Smith missing practice, Tennessee head coach didn’t miss a beat. He was quick to pivot to freshman receiver Josh Palmer.
“The individual who has really stepped up is Josh Palmer,” Jones said. “He’s gained those repetitions and what he’s doing right now is putting his identity on video.”
Palmer is 6-2, 198 pounds and comes out of the powerhouse that is St. Thomas Aquinas High School. Palmer was listed as a three star recruit, but he hasn’t let that stop him from making noise in his first shot at fall camp for the Volunteers.
Butch continued his praise, “He’s gonna be an individual that going to play a lot of football for us this year.” Jones said that he expects to have Josh Smith back “very soon,” but again stressed that Josh Palmer really was able to take advantage of an opportunity in Smith’s absence.
And the wide receiver spot was really one position that was up for the taking. Tennessee returns guys with experience like Jauan Jennings, Josh Smith and Tyler Byrd, but after that it was a mixed bag of talent and inexperience. I would say that Marquez Callaway is a guy that we all expect to step up and help fill the void that Josh Malone left, but Palmer could be a pleasant surprise in the rotation.
Jones also mentioned sophomore Brandon Johnson as a guy that was in the mix to crack the starting lineup. The Volunteers aren’t short on bodies at receiver, but it’s going to be interesting to see who can emerge and separate themselves from the pack. It sounds like Josh Palmer might be doing just that.