When the Tennessee Vols take the field in 2020, they’ll be doing it without two of their most important players — wide receivers Marquez Callaway and Jauan Jennings.

Callaway and Jennings have combined for the bulk of the Vols’ production through the air this season. Losing those two players is a frightening thought for UT fans, considering the lack of experience behind them on the roster (outside of Josh Palmer, who will return next season).

Fortunately for Tennessee, there’s a young player on the roster who has the chance to step up and be a key contributor for the Volunteers next season.

True freshman Ramel Keyton showed off his dynamic playmaking ability in Tennessee’s win against Mississippi State on Saturday, hauling in a 41 yard reception in the second half.

The reception, which was the first of the season for Keyton, put the Vols in excellent scoring position.

Since that was Keyton’s first catch of the year, it would certainly be easy for folks to dismiss it as a fluke.

But that would be a mistake.

Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt said on Monday that Keyton has been standing out since he arrived at Tennessee, telling reporters “Ramel’s made plays really all camp going all the way back to last spring…..he’s been a really good playmaker”.

Pruitt mentioned that Keyton hasn’t seen much playing time this season due to the presence of Jennings, Callaway, and Palmer.

But that might be changing in the near future.

Pruitt said on Monday that wide receivers coach Tee Martin moved to the sideline in an effort to improve Tennessee’s wide receiver rotation. Pruitt noted that he felt UT’s top wide receivers were “probably playing more snaps than they should”.

Keyton already has the reputation among Tennessee’s coaches as a playmaker. And on Saturday, he proved he’s not just a practice player.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see Keyton’s snaps increase even more as the season progresses.

The Vols might have a special talent in Keyton. It’s not often that Pruitt speaks glowingly of a true freshman. But he made it clear on Monday that he’s been impressed with the Georgia native.

That’s big for UT, because they’ll absolutely need Keyton to be a playmaker in 2020 and beyond.

Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

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