For the very first time, Tennessee has a Biletnikoff Award winner — it’s Jalin Hyatt, of course. The junior from Irmo, South Carolina was recognized as the best receiver in the country on Thursday night.
Hyatt beat out Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison Jr. and Iowa State’s Xavier Hutchinson for the award.
Jalin Hyatt is the best WR in college football❗️@jalinhyatt is the first player in @Vol_Football history to win the Biletnikoff Award pic.twitter.com/7ek9RV8eKK— SEC Network (@SECNetwork) December 9, 2022
The average college football fan didn’t know Hyatt’s name this time one year ago. He wasn’t a part of the top three rotation in 2021, but he blossomed into one of the most dynamic offensive threats in the country in 2022. Hyatt was the heavy favorite to break out in the Tennessee offense, as most fans and analysts agreed that his talent would ultimately shine in Josh Heupel’s offense.
And boy — did he ever.
Hyatt really shined when Cedric Tillman was unavailable due to a high ankle sprain. Nobody expected him to be a true WR1, but he certainly turned into one when his team needed him to be. Hyatt torched Alabama for five touchdowns, powering Tennessee to a 52-49 win over the Crimson Tide. That performance alone was enough for a statue on campus, in my opinion.
Hyatt finished the regular season with 67 catches for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns. His numbers easily pushed him to the top of the Biletnikoff’s list, as his resume was clearly the best of the bunch.
Now Hyatt has a decision to wrestle with. Come back and play with Joe Milton? Or get a one year jump on his NFL career? Hyatt has appeared in the first round of several NFL mock drafts in recent weeks, and teams will certainly value his elite speed. We’ll see what he decides soon.