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Jacob Warren, Princeton Fant will return to Tennessee in 2022

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NCAA Football: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee’s top two tight ends are set to run it back in 2022. Both Jacob Warren and Princeton Fant announced their intentions to return to the program next season, looking to build off of a strong year one under Josh Heupel.

Warren is a redshirt junior, but has already graduated. Fant is a redshirt senior who will be taking advantage of his COVID year of eligibility.

Both Fant and Warren saw big playing time, as Heupel took a bit of a mix and match approach at the position this fall. Statistically, they weren’t a huge part of the offense, but they were used as chain-movers and Warren in particular was a redzone weapon. Warren caught 18 passes for 179 yards, while scoring three times. Fant added 13 catches for 149 yards.

“Both of them are just beginning their journey as players,” Josh Heupel said on Wednesday. “I really believe that their physical development will be critical this offseason. That will be a big part of them continuing to take another jump in their play. They’ve done that already in the 11 months that we’ve been here. I think both of them have been playing their best football middle half of the season on. They’ve got a lot better understanding on how to execute and do the things that we need them to in the run game and the pass game and protections. Those two guys coming back will be a big part of us moving forward next year and (we’re) excited to have those guys back. They represent what’s good inside of this program, too. They’re two great young people, on and off the field.”

It will be interesting to see if Miles Campbell can break into the rotation after taking a redshirt season this year. Campbell played in three games after signing with Tennessee as a four-star prospect. Trinity Bell and Julian Nixon are also intriguing young pieces set to come along during the offseason.

From a continuity standpoint though, getting Fant and Warren back is another nice boost for this offense. Quarterback Hendon Hooker is obviously the biggest piece of the puzzle to return, giving the Volunteers a real shot to make some noise in 2022.