Vols left out of 2022 preseason coaches poll
Tennessee was just on the outside looking in at #26, receiving 163 votes.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -The 2022 pre-season coaches poll was released Monday, and Tennessee was left out of the Top-25 rankings. Other SEC teams placed in the top 25 included Alabama(1), Georgia(3), Texas A&M(7), Kentucky(21), Arkansas(23) and Ole Miss(24).
While Tennessee was not selected into the top 25, according to coaches, they did receive votes (163).
The Tennessee Volunteers will be one of the most exciting teams to watch this year. Coach Josh Heupel has brought excitement back to Knoxville that we have not seen in years.
In his first season as head coach, the Vols finished with a 7-6 record, with Heupel’s offense breaking the single-season scoring record. Averaging 38.8 points a game, the Vols fast pace offense was a problem for opposing defenders.
Tennessee will return quarterback Hendon Hooker, who had an unbelievable 2021 campaign. With 31 touchdowns to only 3 interceptions, Hooker was one of the most efficient QBs, not only in the SEC, but in the nation.
Hooker has caught the eye of many, and some even have him on the preseason Heisman watchlist. Hooker is seen to be a consensus top 3 SEC QB this season.
Hooker was named the starter over Joe Milton as the season progressed. This will be the first time we will get to see him get a full season under his belt at the University of Tennessee.
Tennessee also returns breakout WR Cedric Tillman, coming off of a season with 1,000 yards and 12 TDs. Tillman has also caught the eye of many as he is named on many preseason award watch lists.
Putting up big-time performances against top schools like Alabama and Georgia, Tillman is expected to have another big season. Speedy junior Jalin Hyatt, who was a freshman All-American, is also primed for a big season. The Vols also add USC transfer Bru McCoy, who will be looking for a change of scenery.
Running-back Jabari Small is another player who will be key in the Vols’ rushing attack. Much will be the same offensively for the Vols this season. We can’t expect them to break another single-season scoring record; however, we can expect the same explosiveness we saw last season.
The biggest thing holding the Volunteers back last season was their lack of defense. The Volunteers gave up 29.1 points per game last season, which was one of the highest opposing averages in the SEC last season.
Heupel is known to be an offensive coach, and in his first season, Heupel lost many players to the transfer portal. So this high average could be attributed to this.
However, in year two, we can expect there to be an improvement on this side of the ball. The Vols lost two DBs to the NFL draft in Alontae Taylor (Saints), and Theo Jackson (Titans); however, guys such as Brandon Turnage and Trevon Flowers will be returning as leaders of the secondary.
Jeremy Banks, one of the SEC’s leading tacklers, will be returning for his senior season. We can expect Banks to help lead the defense from that linebacker position. Lastly, Byron Young and Tyler Baron will be expected to make an impact. The Volunteers will have much to clean up; however, with their experience, we can expect there to be an improvement.
Being in the SEC, Tennessee is bound to have a tough schedule every season; however, with the amount of talent throughout and their explosive offense, Tennessee is bound for the national spotlight.
This Volunteer team will be tested this season, but when it is all said and done, we can expect Tennessee to be one of the top 25 teams in the country.
COACHES PRESEASON TOP-25 POLL
1. Alabama (54)
2. Ohio State (5)
3. Georgia (6)
5. Notre Dame
7. Texas A&M
11. Oklahoma St.
13. North Carolina St.
14. Michigan St.
18. Texas (1)
19. Wake Forest
24. Ole Miss
Others receiving votes: Iowa 248; Penn State 246; Tennessee 163; Brigham Young 152; Louisiana State 143; Auburn 98; Central Florida 55; North Carolina 34; San Diego State 25; Fresno State 21; Mississippi State 19; Florida 17;
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