After an abysmal 2017 season, there is no doubt that the Vols need help on offense.
Tennessee didn’t score a single offensive touchdown for 15 consecutive quarters - a feat that all Vols fans, players, and coaches alike never want to see happen again.
There are a litany of reasons as to why the offense was so inept. Inconsistent quarterback play, bad offensive line play, a lack of playmakers, bad playing calling - you name it. Whatever havoc or mistakes that could be made on the field with the football in their hands, the Vols made it happen.
Head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff set out in 2018 to try and fix the offense the best they could. Bringing in players that fit their system, e.g. Jerome Carvin and Jeremy Banks, will give fans a pretty quick taste of what Pruitt plans to do on Rocky Top.
But there’s one newcomer that has turned heads since he decommitted from Texas on his way to Knoxville and that’s Arizona Western College tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson.
We all know how much Alabama likes to use their tight ends. Especially big, athletic ones - just see O.J. Howard. And this fact isn’t lost on the Vols’ current coaching staff, either. Offensive coordinator Tyson Helton immediately saw what Wood-Anderson can bring to the table.
“He’s a guy that you can go put your hand on the ground at tight end, play in the box. But he also can stretch the field vertically,” Helton said of Wood-Anderson, who was ranked the nation’s No. 9 overall junior-college prospect in the 247Sports Composite. “I think he’s going to come in and really help us in the tight-end position really, really fast.
“We need a big man like him. He can do it. This is a guy who’s like the prototypical NFL tight end — a big guy that can kind of do it all — and we expect big things out of him.” - UT Offensive Coordinator Tyson Helton, via GoVols247.com
Now, it remains to be seen how the tight end position will be used in Helton’s offense, but even with Tyler Petite, a junior tight end at USC who was used primarily as a blocker - Petite still had more production than Vols starting tight end Ethan Wolf last season.
Let’s not forget the fact that Tee Martin called the shots on offense, so Helton did not have full control over the unit, either.
Wood-Anderson is doing and saying all of the right things. He has already talked about the desire to perfect his craft with VFL Jason Witten and is constantly supporting the Orange on his twitter account.
To get a visual of what this kid can do, just check out the video below. It’s hard to imagine him not becoming a starter by day one. Especially at a position where the roster returns a combined 5 catches for 57 yards in career experience.
Wood-Anderson’s 6-foot-5, 245-pound frame should be more than enough to move defenders off the line as well as allow him to create space with his body. Jarrett Guarantano - or Keller Chryst - would also have an excellent security blanket in case Tennessee’s offensive line underperforms for the umpteenth season.
The sky is the limit for this kid and fortunately that sky is doused in orange.