Tennessee roster breakdown: WR Alontae Taylor going to stretch field, pose threat

Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions  here . In this edition, we discuss Tennessee and wide receivers Alontae Taylor and Cedric Tillman, as well as the position in general.

Alontae Taylor and Cedric Tillman bring speed, power to WR group

Tennessee didn’t receive much production from multiple position groups last season. Wide receiver had to be one of the most disappointing, though.

The Class of 2018 signees will be looked upon to help turn this around immediately.

Alontae Taylor is one of the more dynamic athletes in the entire class. He’s played all over the field and is a threat to score every time he touches the ball.

The new offensive system will place an emphasis on running the football. Offensive coordinator Tyson Helton wants to then throw the ball over the top of defenses with wide receivers running deep routes downfield.

Wide receivers coach David Johnson said at the National Signing Day celebration at the Tennessee theatre, that this is exactly where Taylor fits in.

“He’s going to help us stretch the field,” Johnson said. “That’s what we want to do. As receivers, we always want to be a threat.”

The Vols didn’t have much of a deep threat last season. Taylor is a quick-twitch athlete who can make plays with the ball in his hands.

Cedric Tillman is a 6-foot-3, 205-pound wideout who will bring some physicality to the position. He’s a strong wide receiver, which the coaching staff likes and will be looking for in the future.

“I take pride in my guys blocking,” Johnson said. “Our guys in a 4-minute offense, trying to finish out a game. We have a saying to put DBs in a cooler. We want them on the sideline in a cooler.”

Frankly, Tillman probably won’t be in the rotation much next season. He was a contingency plan addition to the class. Tennessee was his only Power 5 offer, and it came just a few days before National Signing Day.

Tillman has the size to be an intriguing prospect down the road. Taylor is the wide receiver who Vols fans will likely see a good bit of next season.

The misses

Tillman only ended up with his offer because former commit Jordan Young seemed to be leaning toward Florida State. He did end up flipping his commitment to the Seminoles on Signing Day.

This was a big blow to the class. Young could have come in and pushed for playing time.

Jacob Copeland is a prospect Tennessee made a push for but came up short of landing. He signed with SEC East rival Florida.

Copeland would have probably been a starter next season.

Tennessee has plenty of in-state options at wide receiver in the Class of 2019. Expect coach Jeremy Pruitt to try tobring in a couple of the top prospects.

Current roster situation

This can’t completely be answered yet. One of the biggest questions about the team heading into spring camp — and possibly the summer — is the status of Jauan Jennings. He was kicked off the team by the former coaching staff for a profanity-laced video directed toward the coaching staff.

Jennings has met with Pruitt and there are steps in place for him to be reinstated.

RELATED: Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt gives update on Jauan Jennings situation

Marquez Callaway and Brandon Johnson are the best returning options.

Callaway has great deep-ball skills and will be an interesting fit into Helton’s new offense. If he can work on the little things such as footwork, he could be really special.

Johnson has played on the outside and in the slot. He’s a reliable player, but he hassn’t make too many big plays. If Jennings returns, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Johnson and Taylor splitting time in the slot next season.

This is a group that could make a big jump next season. Johnson comes from Memphis with a track record of developing productive wide receivers the past two seasons.

In case you miss any in SEC County’s position breakdown series.

Tennessee coordinator on unsettled QB situation: ‘We’ll find guys we can win with’

Roster breakdown: Jeremy Banks gives Vols big RB they desired

Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news  here .

The post Tennessee roster breakdown: WR Alontae Taylor going to stretch field, pose threat appeared first on SEC Country.

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