There’s been a lot of hype this offseason surrounding Tennessee Vols true freshman wide receiver Squirrel White.

And it’s not just because of his unique nickname.

White has elite speed and he’s an incredibly hard worker. He was seemingly born to play in the slot in Josh Heupel’s up-tempo offense. He’s also having a great fall camp so far.

But while the hype is deserved for White, it might be causing us to overlook another player that could have a breakout season for the Vols in 2022.

Tennessee Vols
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Junior wide receiver Jalin Hyatt, like White, has game-changing speed that is tailor-made for Heupel’s offense (Hyatt reportedly runs the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds).

The South Carolina native, who is working from the slot during camp, has been consistently praised by Heupel for his “dramatically different” approach this fall (compared to last season).

Offensive coordinator Alex Golesh even said recently that Hyatt has developed into a leader for Tennessee’s wide receiver group.

“Jalin Hyatt has developed into a leader in that group, because of the way he’s worked he’s earned the right to do that,” said Golesh before fall camp started.

Heupel also singled out Hyatt as a player that had a great practice on Tuesday during the Vols’ first fall scrimmage.

Hyatt has elite abilities and he has good length. He couldn’t be a better fit in Heupel’s offense. Now that he’s approaching the game the right way, we should see him dramatically improve on the results from his 2021 season when he caught just 21 passes for 226 yards and two touchdowns.

The former four-star recruit is going to be a threat to score every time he’s on the field. And he might prevent White, despite the cool nickname, from seeing the field much as a true freshman.

That would be a good problem for Tennessee to have this season.

It’s been a while since the Vols were considered “wide receiver U”, but it feels like Heupel might be the coach who finally brings that moniker back to Rocky Top.

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