Projecting Vols two-deep depth chart for 2022 season

Sep 11, 2021; Knoxville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Hendon Hooker (5) looks to pass the ball against the Pittsburgh Panthers during the second quarter at Neyland Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Six starters and eight rotational players are gone from last year’s Tennessee football team that went 7-6 in its first season under Josh Heupel. If you count Tiyon Evans, that number goes to seven starters and nine rotational players. However, that means the Vols are returning a ton of talent this year in their two-deep rotation.

Rocky Top also has some elite transfers and new recruits coming in. How will it all look in the fall, though? This post will try to break that down based on past production, particularly last year, expectations of them going into this year and what they did in spring ball, if anything.

This is a two-deep projection, but it won’t neatly separate every position with two spots. Some will go three-deep, but the point is that offense and defense will each end up with 22 players named specifically. Flexibility based on the systems is crucial. Here is our Tennessee football 2022 two-deep depth chart projection.


1. Hendon Hooker

There’s no surprise here. Hendon Hooker may be a Heisman Trophy candidate. He stepped in against the Pittsburgh Panthers last year and never lost the job, completing 206 of 303 passes (68 percent) for 2,945 yards (9.7 yards per attempt), 31 touchdowns and three interceptions.

In addition to his incredible efficiency through the air, Hooker had 616 yards on 166 carries (3.7 yards per attempt), which includes sacks, for five touchdowns. He’s the star for the Vols, and his decision to come back for his graduate senior season was huge.

2. Joe Milton III

Although he was the starter at the beginning of last year and then lost his job, Joe Milton III still likely has it over Tayven Jackson and Navy Shuler. Last year, accuracy was a huge issue for Milton. A transfer from the Michigan Wolverines, he completed 32 of 62 passes (51.6 percent) for 375 yards (6 yards per attempt), two touchdowns and no picks.

Milton also ran for 129 yards and two touchdowns on 28 carries (4.6 yards per carry). If his accuracy took a step forward, he should be Tennessee football’s second-stringer with a chance to start his final year of eligibility in 2024.

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