The Tennessee Vols finished the 2021 season — their first season under head coach Josh Heupel — with the No. 7 scoring offense in the nation.
In 2020, the Vols’ final season under Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee had the No. 109 scoring offense in the nation.
Insane improvement, right?
So what will the Vols do for an encore? Will they lead the nation in scoring?
They won’t be far from it, at least according to the latest projections from 247Sports.
The national sports media outlet recently projected the top 10 offenses in college football in 2022 and they think Tennessee will have the second best offense in the nation in Heupel’s second season leading the program.
One of the most accurate deep-ball throwers in the country, Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker was statistically dominant as a junior for the Volunteers, finishing with 31 touchdown passes and three interceptions for an offense that averaged nearly three players per minute — the highest in college football. Josh Heupel has mentioned this offseason the confidence he has in the quarterback room in Knoxville with Joe Milton behind Hooker and believes this offense can be nearly impossible to contain when its clicking on all cylinders. Cedric Tillman is a true No. 1 on the outside and if Jalin Hyatt performs at the expectation level of his coaching staff, Tennessee has two legitimate field-stretchers that should rank among the SEC’s leaders in receiving yards and total touchdowns.
The only team that 247Sports has with a better offense than Tennessee in 2022 is Ohio State.
If the Vols finish with the No. 2 scoring offense in the nation, I feel like it’s a lock that Tennessee will win 10 games. The defense will need to do their part — especially in third and long situations. But the Vols are never going to finish with a top 25 defense simply due to the way Tennessee’s offense operates. There are far too many scoring opportunities for the opposition.
I think this is a realistic projection for UT. I’m not sure folks truly understand how impressive it was to finish with the No. 7 scoring offense in the nation last season in year one of the Heupel era.
In just a few months, Tennessee had to learn a completely new offense. The Vols also had to make a quarterback change just two games into the season. Despite those challenges, Tennessee still had one of the best offensive seasons in program history.
Imagine what his team will do now that everyone knows the system. It could be an extremely fun year for the Volunteers.
Featured image via Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports