KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- Following standout five-year careers with the Tennessee football program, wide receiver Jauan Jennings and linebacker Darrell Taylor will look to improve their NFL Draft stock this weekend at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
The pair is on the South Team for Saturday’s contest, which will be played at 2:30 p.m. ET inside Ladd Peebles Stadium in front of hundreds of NFL scouts and coaches. The game will be broadcast live on the NFL Network.
Taylor’s status for the game is up in the air as he did not practice earlier in the week, but did participate in meetings. Jennings has registered several highlights in drills during practices.
Both players have garnered significant NFL Draft buzz since the end of the regular season. ESPN draft expert Todd McShay called Taylor “the best player in the Gator Bowl” and the edge rusher has been listed in the second round on several mock drafts. Jennings was recently listed at the end of the first round in PFF College’s mock draft.
Jennings and Taylor are the first Vols to participate in the Senior Bowl since 2017 when quarterback Joshua Dobbs and defensive back Cameron Sutton competed in Mobile. Jennings and Taylor will be the 125th and 126th Vols to appear in the prestigious post-season all-star game all-time.
Some of the notable Vols to appear in the Senior Bowl include: current UT assistant head coach/wide receivers coach/passing game coordinator and national championship quarterback Tee Martin (2000), former Tennessee head coach and halfback Johnny Majors (1957), Vol Network color analyst and defensive back Tim Priest (1971), NFL All-Pro DB Dale Carter (1992), legendary linebacker Al Wilson (1999) and punter Dustin Colquitt (2005), who will play in the Super Bowl next week.
Five Vols have grabbed MVP honors at the Senior Bowl: Steve DeLong (1965), Alvin Harper (1991), Charlie Garner (1994), Eric Ainge (2008) and Robert Ayers (2009).
Jennings will look to leave his mark in Mobile after wrapping up his Tennessee career as one of the top receivers in program history, finishing fifth all-time at UT in receptions (146), fourth in receiving yards (2,153) and tied-for-fifth in touchdown receptions (18). He finished as one of the SEC's top wideouts as a senior in 2019, leading the Vols with 59 receptions for 969 yards and eight touchdown catches, while adding a rushing score. The 6-3, 208-pounder played in 50 career games. He tossed two career touchdown passes and made an interception on defense to go along with his receiving accolades. He led all wide receivers in the nation in broken tackles (30) in 2019 according to PFF College.
Jennings received plenty of praise from Senior Bowl executive director Jim Nagy early in the week, calling the Murfreesboro, Tenn., native “truly, truly unique.”
“He’s wired differently than most wide receivers from a mental standpoint in terms of kind of having that edge in his personality,” said Nagy, a longtime NFL scout. “So good with his hands and so good after the catch in terms of broken tackles and forcing guys to tackle him. You have to tackle Jauan Jennings. He makes you, you’ve got to wrap up and tackle that guy. He’s different than anyone in this group. He’s different than anyone else in this draft.”
Taylor was one of the most fearsome pass rushers in the SEC during his final two seasons. The Hopewell, Va., native finished with 19.5 sacks (10th-most in UT history), 26.5 TFLs and 118 total tackles over his 43-game career. He ranked tied for second in the SEC with 8.5 sacks in 2019 after totaling 8.0 sacks in 2018. He became the third Vol ever to have a