It sounds like one Tennessee Vols position battle has already been decided.

Vols wide receivers coach Kelsey Pope met with reporters on Thursday after Tennessee’s practice and he seemed to indicate that junior wide receiver Jalin Hyatt will serve as the Vols’ primary slot wide receiver in 2022.

Pope told reporters that Hyatt has led the way at slot wide receiver during camp.

Hyatt, who has been consistently praised this offseason for his improved approach to playing football, was pretty much expected to be the Vols’ primary slot wide receiver in 2022.

However, there was some speculation that true freshman Squirrel White, who has impressed this summer, could possibly step into that role.

White’s solid summer combined with Hyatt’s struggles last season could’ve resulted in the true freshman winning that job.

But it sounds like it will be Hyatt. And that’s a good thing for the Vols. While White has loads of potential, Hyatt has more experience. And he has elite skills that are an absolutely perfect fit in Josh Heupel’s offense.

Velus Jones had a big impact on Jalin Hyatt

Velus Jones had a breakout season working out of the slot for Tennessee last season. I think fans should expect a similar season from Hyatt in 2022.

Hyatt actually credited Jones for his difference in attitude this season. He told reporters that Jones sat him down and told him how good he could be in the Vols’ offense.

That difference in attitude has led to a better understanding of the offense for Hyatt, which should lead to positive results for the South Carolina native.

“I’m locked in this year, I’m ready to go,” said Hyatt on Thursday.

Tennessee’s offense hasn’t even come close to peaking yet. What we saw last season was just the start. If Hyatt plays to his potential, it could be a long season for SEC cornerbacks.

Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK