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Pruitt: ‘Polished’ freshman receiver Jalin Hyatt off to a fast start

Can he play early?

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Most of the Tennessee roster will look similar to how it did in 2019, but that isn’t the case for the receiver room. Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings did the heavy lifting for the Volunteers last year, but have since moved on to the NFL. While Tennessee has a few veterans set to handle the initial load, they’ve also got quite the talented crop of freshmen.

Four four-star receivers enter the fold in 2020, each with a shot to contribute right off the bat. One of those options is Dutch Fork, South Carolina’s Jalin Hyatt. Early on in camp, Hyatt is turning heads.

“We have a lot of young receivers,” Jeremy Pruitt said last week. “One thing about all of them is they can run. They’re really fast. Jalin is a guy that is very polished. He’s had three really good practices and he’s got to continue to do that.”

Hyatt was the 198th ranked player in the 2020 class. The 6-0, 175 pound receiver will bring a legitimate element of speed to the Tennessee offense and has proven to be more than capable at the catch point as a high school senior.

As anyone else though, Hyatt has some adjusting to do as he prepares for ten games in the SEC.

“He’s got to work on ball security,” Pruitt said. “It’s a little different in this league because everybody plays in your face. In high school, very few teams probably played him that way. So he’s got to continue to work very hard at the line of scrimmage and at the top of routes. He’s a guy that can play all three spots at receiver.”

Hyatt likely needs to add some strength and maybe a little bulk to deal with the physicality that he’s going to see from cornerbacks at this level. The good news is that he has plenty of time to do that, and Tennessee won’t be forced to lean on him heavily right off. Hyatt can immediately contribute as a burner though, and with eligibility frozen for 2020, we’ll see if Jim Chaney installs a few plays per game for him to start.