Vols’ top five options to replace JaVonta Payton at WR

Nobody in Tennessee football history had a greater impact on plays per touch than JaVonta Payton last year. As a transfer from the Mississippi State Bulldogs, Payton made the most of his one year, and starting opposite Cedric Tillman at wideout, he had just 18 catches. However, he had six touchdowns and 413 yards on those catches.

Now, Payton has gone to the NFL, having signed with the Arizona Cardinals as an undrafted free agent. As a result, Josh Heupel has to find another wideout in addition to finding another player in the slot. In some cases, those players could be interchangeable.

However, as we get set to look at the most likely Vols to replace Payton, players on the list of most likely Vols to replace Velus Jones Jr. in the slot were left off, although Jalin Hyatt or Jimmy Calloway could be on here, as both could start. Without them, let’s look at true wideouts. These are Tennessee football’s five best options to replace Payton.

These are the Tennessee football Volunteers’ best candidates to play the No. 2 wideout receiver spot.

Tennessee wide receiver Kaleb Webb participates in a drill at Tennessee Vols football first spring practice, Tuesday, March 22, 2022.
Kns Vols Spring Parctice Cm


Kaleb Webb

Freshman 6’3 196 lbs

As the most highly touted recruit at receiver in Tennessee football’s 2022 class, Kaleb Webb is expected to be the Vols’ wideout for the future.

He was a four-star recruit across all services this past year across all services except for ESPN. As a result, it’s a safe bet that Kaleb Webb was recruited to become a major contributor to the Vols sooner rather than rater, and given his 6’3 ″ frame, he could be a guy who is in line to replace Cedric Tillman in a couple years, not just Payton.

As a result, Webb obviously makes the list as a guy who could replace Payton at wideout. Now, it’s worth noting that he didn’t really turn any heads in spring ball, which keeps him down here, and he can’t really play in the slot, so working his way into the rotation may be a bit difficult.

Still, Webb was an early enrollee, and he brings a ton of potential to Tennessee football. With Heupel’s offense and his size, he could easily become a major contributor to the Vols, and very soon, there’s a great chance he becomes a superstar receiver. Taking all that into account, of course he could make an impact this year.

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