After a week of speculation, Tennessee receiver Jauan Jennings has decided to return to Knoxville for his senior season. As of this morning, Jennings wasn’t registered for classes. The deadline to enter the NFL Draft was today, which was something Jennings was weighing heavily, despite his likely status as a day three selection.
Jennings caught 30 passes for 438 yards last season, adding three touchdowns along the way. It was his second best season statistically as a Vol as Jennings worked back from injury during training camp. The former mid-state prospect has totaled 1,184 yards in 35 games at Tennessee.
His time at Tennessee has been tumultuous as Jennings has struggled with injuries and off the field issues. He was set to be the main receiver for the Vols in 2017, but a wrist injury robbed him of his entire season, outside of a quarter against Georgia Tech. He was then kicked off the team by interim head coach Brady Hoke, only to be reinstated by Jeremy Pruitt and athletics director Phillip Fulmer a couple of months later.
Jennings, by all accounts, has put his off the field issues behind him. He had his moments in 2018, but didn’t exactly put up the production to warrant jumping to the NFL. A fully healthy senior season will give him a shot to fix that production issue, while further distancing himself from those off the field questions.
He will return to add to a loaded receiver room, which includes Marquez Callaway and Josh Palmer. That trio was limited by inconsistent offensive line play, which ultimately limited quarterback Jarrett Guarantano’s ability to get the ball out on time and on target.
With new offensive coordinator Jim Chaney in place and a group of talented young freshmen entering the fray on the offensive line, it’s going to be fascinating to see if the Vols can make a legitimate jump in 2019.
Keeping an experienced guy like Jennings in the fold should only boost that group. Jennings is healthy this offseason, unlike last year. He’ll be able to get to work during spring and fall practice, hopefully making more of an impact than he did during his redshirt junior campaign.