clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Josh Heupel praises a pair of young Tennessee receivers

Two names we’ll hear a lot from next year.

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Caitie McMekin/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Tennessee is absolutely loaded at wide receiver, stocked up with four guys that can all win in different ways. That core of Bru McCoy, Ramel Keyton, Squirrel White and Dont’e Thornton will dominate the snaps this year, barring injury. This much we know — but what about the rest of the depth chart?

Kelsey Pope is working to get the next group of Tennessee receivers ready, likely for starting roles next year. That group consists of second-year players Kaleb Webb and Chas Nimrod. With Webb, we saw a flash of brilliance during the Orange and White Game. The 6-3, 198 pound redshirt freshman made a circus catch down the sideline, giving us a preview of what he can bring to Heupel’s vertical passing attack.

“From the offseason to where we are today, he’s been very intentional,” Heupel said of Webb. “I don’t know if anybody spends more time in the building catching balls off the JUGS. He’s always coming back for extra work in the middle of the day to understand what he’s doing, what he’s seeing to continue to grow within our offense, understanding defensive structure.”

Webb came to Tennessee last year as a four-star prospect out of Georgia. Per 247Sports, Webb was the 199th ranked player in the class of 2022 — the 35th ranked receiver prospect in the cycle.

Due to Tennessee’s lack of rotation at receiver, Webb isn’t likely to see much playing time in 2023. However, with his redshirt season done, Webb could see plenty of time in mop-up duty. Looking ahead to 2024, both he and Nimrod are favorites to emerge as starters as things currently stand.

“(Webb’s) gotten a lot stronger — his lower body in particular. That’s helped him — speed getting in and out of breaks. He’s just continuing on his football journey of real purpose every day and small strides, and up to big games by the time you get to kickoff. Been really pleased with him. Chas Nimrod is a guy that’s done the exact same thing. He’s continued to grow. He’s played multiple positions within our offense, and really excited about Chas and Kaleb.”

It’s going to be interesting to see this staff bring along their own guys and develop them into starting roles. They’ve inherited most of their production at the position to this point, but guys like White, Webb and Nimrod are coming through the pipeline and are ready to contribute. They’ll keep that trend going with Nathan Leacock, then Mike Matthews and Braylon Staley down the road.

Nico Iamaleava playing with Webb, Nimrod, Squirrel, Leacock and Matthews — along with other weapons like Cam Seldon and Ethan Davis, is a pretty exciting thought for 2024.