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Tennessee football’s SEC Media Days reps reveals who coaches expect to break out

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Josh Heupel obviously has to go. Hendon Hooker as a graduate senior, the quarterback and a Heisman contender was obviously going to be a player rep. Cedric Tillman as his go-to receiver who had 1,000 yards also made sense. Tennessee football’s final rep at SEC Media Days, though, was a question.

Well, that question is no more. The league revealed Tuesday that Trevon Flowers would be the other rep for the Vols at the event in Atlanta, scheduled for next week. As a two and a half year starter at free safety who took advantage of the COVID eligibility, that pick makes sense.

However, it also reveals something else about Flowers. Tennessee football’s coaching staff expects him to emerge beyond just a regular starter for the Vols this year and turn into a breakout star. Potential that’s been bubbling for a while should explode.

Heading into the 2021 season, Velus Jones Jr. and Alontae Taylor accompanied Heupel to the event. Jones earned first team All-SEC across the board as a return specialist and was the No. 2 receiver on the team, also occupying the first team All-Purpose All-SEC role on the Coaches team.

Taylor, meanwhile, only didn’t earn lots of accolades because he was so good as a cornerback that nobody threw his way. His success, though, resulted in him being the highest Vol selected in the 2022 NFL Draft and one spot away from the highest Vol selected in any draft since 2016.

Simply put, when you go to these events, expectations for you are there. They already exist with Tillman and Hooker based on what those two did last year. Flowers would seem to be close to their league as a regular starter when healthy since 2019.

Last year, Flowers intercepted two passes and broke up three more. He also registered a sack, one and a half tackles for a loss and 82 tackles, 48 of which were solo. For his career, he has three picks, a forced fumble, seven pass deflections, a sack, three and a half tackles for a loss and 170 tackles, 95 of which were solo.

In 2019, Flowers was having a bit of a breakout year as a first-year starter. However, he broke his leg on his first career interception against the Mississippi State Bulldogs and missed the final seven games. Jaylen McCollough took his spot, and a year later, McCollough replaced Nigel Warrior at strong safety.

Flowers then reprised his role at free safety and became the highest PFF graded player for the Vols for most of the 2020 season despite having to get back to health and playing in a dysfunctional secondary. He continued his solid play this past year.

Now, though, a new level is expected. Before last year, Taylor wouldn’t have been considered on Bryce Thompson’s level, but he emerged after attending SEC Media Days. Both are on the New Orleans Saints now, but Thompson was undrafted, so Taylor has lots more guaranteed money.



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Josh Heupel obviously has to go. Hendon Hooker as a graduate senior, the quarterback and a Heisman contender was obviously going to be a player rep. Cedric...


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