A position that looked like a strength for Tennessee now has depth problems.
It appeared the Volunteers would enter this season with one of the deepest receiving groups in the SEC, but with Von Pearson suspended as part of a rape investigation freshman Preston Williams being held out of practice with an eligibility issue, Tennessee is searching for bodies.
“That’s one of the areas we’re concerned with,” Butch Jones told reporters Monday. “Not only with (Pearson and Williams), but Jason Croom and Josh Smith, we have to do a great job of really managing them and making sure they don’t do too much early.
Without Pearson, the top of the Tennessee depth chart figures to include Marquez North, Pig Howard and Josh Malone.
Pearson, who is 6-3, will be missed since he led the Vols with five TD catches in 2014 among with 38 receptions for 393 yards.
Also, North, who is 6-4, is returning from shoulder surgery, Smith missed most of the season and then had ankle surgery, and Croom (four TD catches) is returning from knee surgery that forced him to miss the bowl game.
Howard led the Vols with 54 catches for 618 yards. RB Jalen Hurd also had 35 receptions.