TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS (4-0 overall, 1-0 SEC)
FACES LSU: Oct. 8, Tiger Stadium, 11 a.m. (Baton Rouge)
HEAD COACH: JOSH HEUPEL (11-6 at Tennessee, 39-14 overall)
NUMBER OF HEAD COACHES, 20 SEASONS: Six
2021 RECORD: 7-6 (4-4)
OVERALL RECORD, 10 SEASONS: 62-61
LAST CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP: 1998, SEC TITLE GAME RECORD: 2-2
TOTAL NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS, LAST: 6, 1998
THIS SEASON: Tennessee is coming off an open date following a 38-33 win over SEC Eastern Division rival Florida …. The Vols are 4-0 for the first time since 2016 and ranked the highest (No. 8) since 2006 … Vols have been led by Heisman Trophy candidate, senior quarterback HENDON HOOKER, who has passed for 1,193 yards with eight touchdowns and no interceptions … The team’s top rusher is JAYLEN WRIGHT with 55 carries for 256 yards and 4 TDs … The defense is led by senior linebacker AARON BEASLEY with 22 tackles.
NAME GAME: Heupel, a consensus All-American quarterback who led Oklahoma to the 2000 BCS national title, coached three seasons at Central Florida before taking over at Tennessee in 2021 … HOOKER amassed 3,561 yards of total offense last season while breaking single-season UT records for passing efficiency and completion percentage (68.0); Hooker had 31 touchdown throws and was intercepted just three times …Receiver CEDRIC TILLMAN had seven catches for 150 yards and a school record-tying three touchdowns against Purdue in last season in the Music City Bowl. His was injured earlier in the season and is questionable against LSU … Running back JABARI SMALL ran 141 times for 796 yards and nine touchdowns last season; he had three 100-yard rushing games … Edge rusher BYRON YOUNG, a transfer to Tennessee from Georgia Military College in 2021, tied linebacker JEREMY BANKS for the team lead in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (11.5) last season; Banks was credited with 128 total tackles last year, second-most in the SEC
TIDBITS: Tennessee was charged in July by the NCAA with 18 Level 1 recruiting rules violations allegedly committed under the watch of coach JEREMY PRUITT, Heupel’s predecessor … The Vols have had a losing record three of the last five seasons, including 3-7 in 2020, 5-7 in 2018 and 4-8 in 2017 … Tennessee was picked to finish third in the SEC’s Eastern Division, according to a preseason media poll.
Tennessee lost 48-45 to Purdue in last season’s Music City Bowl at Nashville, snapping a streak of wins in its prior four bowl appearances. Small rushed for a career-high 180 yards, including a career-long 60-yard gain, and two touchdowns in the loss.
Wide Receiver | 6-3 | 215 | Senior
The playmaker, who has caught 17 passes for 246 yards and a touchdown this season, had 64 receptions for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns in 2021, ending the season with four straight 100-yard receiving games. Tillman’s father, Cedric Tillman, is a former Alcorn State receiver and 11th round 1992 NFL Draft choice who played for the Denver Broncos (1992-94) and the Jacksonville Jaguars (1995)