KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s fastest practice players were revealed via shoulder pad sensors and a Snapchat photo the school released on Monday night.
True freshman Tyler Byrd, a potential two-way player who is lining up at slot receiver and on the kick return team, was the fastest of the 12 players to run 20 mph or faster, hitting 23.7.
Fellow incoming freshman Nigel Warrior was No 2 at 21.6 mph, while senior linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin raised eyebrows with a 21.2 mph posting.
“It’s something we pride ourselves on, being fast,” said sophomore Micah Abernathy, whose repetitions now are primarily at safety. “Being on the top of that list as a freshman, that’s a really good feat.”
Byrd and Warrior both have been heavily discussed as likely contributors this season, even before the speed chart was released.
Senior defensive end Corey Vereen, one of the five defensive lineman to run 16 mph or faster, said the players take note of the speed postings.
“We kind of compete in practice,” said Vereen, who has topped out at 16 mph.
Jonathan Kongbo, an incoming junior-college transfer from Arizona Western College, was the fastest of the defensive linemen at 18.4 mph.
There were still plenty of green-and-white no-contact jerseys being worn by Tennessee players on Tuesday, including star tailback Jalen Hurd.
Hurd continues to go through warmup drills at 100 percent, so his green jersey is believed to be precautionary.
UT coach Butch Jones did not comment on Hurd’s green jersey at his most recent media briefing, last Saturday.
Other players in green jerseys:
• Jauan Jennings
• Austin Smith
• D.J. Henderson
Note: This injury report is not complete. UT has media policies that prevent journalists from reporting on players who are not at practice unless Coach Butch Jones has addressed the injury.
What we know
• Projected starting safety Rashaan Gaulden looked strong in drills, while cornerback Cam Sutton practiced well despite having a brace on his wrist. Malik Foreman continues to look like one of the leading candidates to start opposite Sutton.
• Players continue to insist Tennessee’s defense will blitz more often, with defensive end Corey Vereen the latest to confirm as much saying the Vols will “most definitely” be more aggressive. “(Bob Shoop) is a very good defensive coordinator, and the blitz package and everything he talks about, his culture versus scheme, is to the point of what we do will be better than what you draw up on paper.”
• UT focused on the fundamentals through the first three periods on Tuesday, with backs going through ball-security drills, offensive linemen firing out of the chute, defensive backs high-pointing the ball and receivers catching passes from the jugs machine.
UT will hold walk-on tryouts at 6:30 a.m. on Aug. 18 at the Anderson Training Center, according to a school release. Candidates, who must be enrolled this semester and satisfy NCAA requirements, will be tested in speed and agility drills as well as position-specific “skill evaluations” with Tennessee coaches.
Mike Griffith covers Tennessee football for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s SEC Country and lives in Knoxville.