Cordarelle Patterson only spent one season with the Tennessee Vols, but it was a season that fans will never forget.
Patterson dazzled fans in 2012 with his ability to elude defenders and seemingly make something out of nothing every time he touched the ball. It didn’t matter if it was a pass, a run, or a return, Patterson was always a threat to score when the ball was in his hands.
The Vols haven’t had a player as electric as Patterson since the South Carolina native left Rocky Top after the 2012 season for the NFL.
But that could change in 2020. And it could be an unlikely name that ends up being the next CP84 for the Vols.
Tennessee football’s X-factor in 2020
Velus Jones Jr transferred to Tennessee this offseason after spending four seasons at USC (including a redshirt season).
Jones, who was recruited to USC by current UT wide receivers coach Tee Martin, was mostly a kick returner for the Trojans. He caught only 36 passes for 347 yards and one touchdown during his time at USC.
Those numbers certainly don’t scream “Cordarrelle Patterson potential”.
But stay with me here.
Jones is a talented player that is similar to Patterson in a lot of ways. He’s fast, he’s dynamic, but he’s not necessarily an elite route runner.
Patterson was great at Tennessee, but he failed to live up to the first-round hype in the NFL. That’s because Jim Chaney, who was the offensive coordinator at UT in 2012, knew the best ways to use Patterson. Chaney knew how to get Patterson the ball in space and let him do his thing.
Martin is hoping the Vols can do the same thing with Jones in 2020.
Tee Martin said they’re getting creative using USC transfer Velus Jones in the offense and in the return game. Even playing in the backfield some.
“He’s a guy we need to get the ball,” he said.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) September 2, 2020
Jones is a player that Martin was extremely high on during the recruiting process. Martin believes the talent is there.
OC Tee Martin said he hasn’t seen a talent like Velus Jones in a long time. Martin compared him to former USC wide receiver Marqise Lee.
— Keely Eure (@keelyismyname) March 29, 2017
We already know that Chaney knows how to get creative with talented players. He’s not going to stick Jones in the slot and make him run intricate routes that require precise timing. Chaney is going to get Jones in positions where his athletic ability and speed can take over.
Maybe Jones doesn’t put together a highlight reel that rivals Patterson’s, but he can at least be a major X-factor for the Vols this season.
Featured image via Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports/Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports