The ascent of Tennessee Vols wide receiver Cedric Tillman over the last year has been incredible to watch.
Tillman was an afterthought when Josh Heupel arrived at UT in early 2021 (as the replacement for previous Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt).
The former three-star had eight receptions the three years before Heupel took over as the program’s head coach.
In year one under Heupel, Tillman exploded for 1,081 receiving yards and 12 touchdowns on 64 receptions.
And Tillman has picked up this season where he left off last year.
The Las Vegas native has 15 receptions for 230 yards through two games. He had a mega game in Tennessee’s win against Pittsburgh, catching nine passes for 162 yards and a touchdown (which ended up being the game-winning touchdown).
As a result of his big performance, Pro Football Network pointed out Tillman as one of the biggest NFL draft risers of the week.
I wrote glowingly about Cedric Tillman over the summer during my preview of Volunteers’ prospects. And if this pace continues, the senior receiver will make a big move up draft boards. During Saturday’s overtime win against Pittsburgh, Tillman led all pass catchers with 9 receptions for 162 yards and posted one touchdown. He’s a big, fast receiver, measuring 6-foot-3 and over 210 pounds while timing in the 4.4s in the forty and playing even faster. If Tillman keeps this pace up, he’ll be selected earlier than former Tennessee receiver Alontae Taylor, the 49th selection in last April’s draft.
It’s been a while since Tennessee has been able to claim that they’re “wide receiver U”.
If Tillman ends up being a first-round draft pick next spring, it’ll help the Vols reclaim that moniker.
Tennessee is going to consistently have high-producing wide receivers under Heupel thanks to his ability to scheme up splash plays.
And Tillman has proven to be a perfect fit for the Vols. His high level of production under Heupel should mean that Tennessee won’t have any problems landing big, fast, physical wide receivers moving forward.
Featured image via Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports