Hear this, Associated Press voters: Tennessee linebacker Jalen Reeves-Maybin couldn’t care less about your opinion.
On Sunday, the first AP poll was released, and the Volunteers came in at No. 9, their highest preseason ranking since 2005. This seems like good news, right? Turns out, Reeves-Maybin has something, er, someone else in mind when he thinks of “No. 9.”
Here’s more from Wes Rucker of GoVols247:
Jalen Reeves-Maybin on #Vols being ranked No. 9 in preseason AP poll: “The only No. 9 I care about is Derek Barnett."
— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) August 22, 2016
It’s cool that he gave a verbal hat tip to the Vols’ defensive end. But wait, so Reeves-Maybin doesn’t think of Tennessee wide receiver Marquez Callaway when he considers that number? Shocker!
In all seriousness, this is good news for the Volunteers that Reeves-Maybin is approaching the season with tunnel vision. Big expectations are good, as long as the team that receives the praise doesn’t wilt under the pressure. Thinking too much about rankings and what others expect of you can be a good way to fall short.