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Jerome Carvin wraps up spring, looks ahead to final season at Tennessee

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at Tennessee Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Jerome Carvin has seen a little bit of everything during his time at Tennessee. From committing to and playing in Jeremy Pruitt’s traditional style attack, to an ugly coaching change, to playing in Josh Heupel’s lighting fast spread attack, Carvin has been here through everything.

He’s been a steadying presence for the team, quietly operating as one of the most important players in the program. Thanks to the NCAA’s COVID year rule, he gets a chance to stick around and really see his work through in Knoxville.

Now a super senior, the Memphis native will once again slot into a starting guard role for Tennessee. His 2022 season is already much different than the 2021 version — naturally so, due to some simple familiarity.

“Everyone was familiar with the playbook, of course,” Carvin said on The Slice Podcast, speaking of spring practice. “Everyone is familiar with the offensive tempo. Any time you’re in the second year in a system, it’s always good. Things are moving faster, everything is clicking together, everything is efficient. I would say that’s the main difference between spring last year and this one.”

Going from Jim Chaney to Josh Heupel was quite the transition, and simply operating at the tempo needed was a challenge. After a season to get accustomed to it, both mentally and physically, this version of spring practice had to be quite a bit smoother for everyone involved.

Now a fifth year player in the program, Carvin is in a unique spot to bring younger players along — mentoring those who will fill his shoes next season and beyond. That began during the spring, and will continue throughout summer workouts.

“I would say just I was talking to them, (telling them) always keeping the main goal,” Carvin said. “And that’s just to get better. Improve each and every day. Try to improve. Try to pinpoint one or two things to work on that day and just get better at it. That’s what spring is for. Spring is just for going out there, sharpen your craft, go get better. Improve and just be a better player. And those guys did that.”

Carvin’s time in Knoxville has been productive from the start, appearing in 12 games as a true freshman back in 2018. He’s been a key player in the offensive line rotation, starting at guard and even center at times in a pinch.

Now his time in college comes to a close in 2022. Carvin has a chance to finish on a high note, with Tennessee slated to be a top 25 team entering the fall. They have a chance to make some noise in the SEC East for the first time since Carvin has been a part of the program, assuming they can build off of a successful 2021 season.

Looking ahead, Carvin has three specific things he’s looking forward to this fall.

“I’ll give you three. I would say playing LSU this year will be fun. I’ve never been to Death Valley, so of course playing there is going to be awesome, I feel like. Two would be probably playing Alabama at home for my last year, playing them at home. And I would say Senior Day, walking down the Vol Walk one last time. That will be cool. Running through the ’T’ one last time.”

Listen to the full episode of The Slice Podcast here.