Our annual countdown of Tennessee’s most important players has begun. This list was voted on by our staff and averaged out to create a ranking. This isn’t a ranking of talent, but a simple ranking of importance.
The list begins with Jauan Jennings at No. 10.
Jauan has had a rollercoaster of a year. He went from surefire No. 1 receiver — to suffering a season-ending injury — to being removed from the team — to being placed back on the team, all in the span of about five months. Hopefully all of that drama is behind Jennings, who is now listed as a redshirt junior on Tennessee’s official roster.
After a lost 2017 season, Jennings is back looking to pick up where he left off. He was set to be the lead target for the Vols last season, but his injury led to the emergence of Marquez Callaway. The two will now form a talented duo on the outside, giving whoever wins the quarterback gig a couple of nice targets.
The 6-3, 209 pound Jennings will give Tyson Helton’s offense a legitimate contested catch winner. He caught 40 passes in 2016, totaling 580 yards and seven touchdowns in his his only full season of significant playing time.
Now perhaps in a more receiver-friendly offense, Jennings has a chance to put up some bigger numbers. Those numbers, of course, will be directly tied to the play of Jarrett Guarantano or Keller Chryst.
The Tennessee offense had a clear plan of attack during the spring game, running the football often from under center formations to set up some downfield passes. The offense has some talented pieces at the skill positions, but how quickly will they be able to pick up Helton’s new playbook?
We’ll see if Jennings can return to form and become that ‘dog’ for the Vols’ offense once more.
Be on the lookout for No. 9 on our list later this week.