Josh Heupel announce ‘bad  day’ for Tennessee football

On Wednesday, Tennessee football welcomed some new Volunteers to Knoxville for Early National Signing Day. So far, 21 high school athletes have signed their national letters of intent, with numerous others anticipated to do so before the early period expires on Friday.

Even though Tennessee’s 2023 season fell short of expectations following an 11-win season in 2022, Vols recruiting kept the ship on track in the 2024 cycle with the nation’s No. 11 class (247Sports), which included two five-star prospects (Jordan Ross and Mike Mathews).

Josh Heupel discusses Tennessee’s 2024 class

Josh Heupel, Tennessee’s head coach since 2021, has completed two recruiting cycles, both of which have ranked No. 11 in the country.

The Vols’ class sits atBrazell will join a packed wide receiver room with Squirrel White, Dont’e Thornton Jr. and Bru McCoy.

As No. 23 Tennessee football prepares for its matchup against No. 17 Iowa in the Cheez-It Citrus Bowl on New Year’s Day, head coach Josh Heupel shared his thoughts on the Vols’ roster ahead of the game. 

It’s not as simple as lining up with the players who got you to bowl season anymore. Transfer portal losses and opt-outs force coaching staff’s to do some roster juggling while preparing for the opposing team itself.

While speaking with the media on Wednesday, Heupel said the Vols are “pretty set” on which guys will travel to Orlando to take on the Hawkeyes.

“I feel like we’re pretty set on a majority of those guys that will be traveling with us to Orlando,” Heupel said. “You talked about the young DBs. This is the time of year, 20 years ago, everybody played in the bowl game. There were really no opt outs at that time. With the NFL, more guys have elected to do that.”

“You look over the recent history of bowl games, it provides a great opportunity to the young guys inside of your roster that may have played sporadically throughout the course of the season on offense and/or defense that get an opportunity to go out and play,” Heupel said. “They get game-week preparation, they get a couple of extra weeks because of the bowl preparation. It provides opportunity, and I do feel good about the guys that will be out there in the secondary.”

While the Vols have already lost 10 players to the transfer portal, starting running back Jaylen Wright won’t be participating after declaring for the 2024 NFL draft. Starting quarterback Joe Milton III also has that option open, although we don’t have an answer at this time.

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