Tennessee lost two massive contributors at wide receiver after last season. Jauan Jennings and Marquez Callaway made up the bulk of the Tennessee passing attack, which was inconsistent at best with issues at quarterback play. Still though, for the past two seasons, Josh Palmer was the third cog in that passing attack. While he doesn’t have experience playing at the No. 1 option, he’s been heavily involved in the offense and has racked up plenty of playing time.
Palmer is an obvious candidate to break out as a senior, finally out of the shadows in the Volunteers’ offense. He’s the one proven thing in the receiver room and Jarrett Guarantano needs him to take that next step as a player.
Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy believes Palmer could do just that. Nagy tweeted out some love for Palmer over the weekend, saying that he expects a breakout season for Palmer. Nagy also called him “one of the toughest and best contested ball catchers in the ‘21 draft.”
Despite having only 34 rec. and 1 TD last year, @Vol_Football WR Josh Palmer put good stuff on tape. One of toughest and best contested ball catchers in ‘21 draft. @seniorbowl expects Palmer to breakout if he gets bulk of Jennings & Calloway targets. #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE pic.twitter.com/3PRlAq4b46— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) July 26, 2020
Palmer is a former three-star prospect, signing with the Volunteers out of Canada. He made noise right out of the gates, earning some praise early on in camp from former coach Butch Jones. He ended up appearing in nine games as a true freshman.
Palmer emerged as a big-play threat as a sophomore, catching 23 passes for nearly 500 yards. He averaged 21 yards per catch and scored twice during that 2018 season. It was more of the same in 2019 for Palmer, as he put up 457 yards as the third receiver in Tennessee’s passing attack.
Now as a senior, all eyes are on Palmer. Making the jump from a No. 3 receiver to a No. 1 will absolutely take some adjusting, but he’s got the frame and athletic ability to be a top option. No player outside of Eric Gray has a bigger opportunity to put up big numbers in this offense.