Tennessee Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt knows that not every young player will make a huge impact from day one.
But just because a player doesn’t flourish as a freshman, doesn’t mean their bright outlook should be dampened.
Wide receiver Josh Palmer, a true sophomore this season, is a player who didn’t make much of an impact as a freshman, but has proved to be a rising star in the SEC this year.
In 2017, Palmer caught only nine passes for 98 yards in a season that was disastrous for Tennessee’s offense.
Through nine games this season, Palmer has showed big play ability, catching 18 passes for 414 yards (23.0 yards per catch). For a bit of context, Brandon Johnson led the Vols in receiving last season with 482 yards.
That’s impressive progress by Palmer.
As impactful as Palmer’s been this season for the Vols, Pruitt thinks his best football is ahead of him.
Pruitt on Josh Palmer: He’s not played a lot of football, so he had a lot to learn. But he’s got a lot of ability and I think his best football is ahead of him.
— GoVols247 (@GoVols247) November 7, 2018
The progression of Palmer, combined with the abilities of established skill players on the roster like Marquez Callaway, Ty Chandler and Jauan Jennings, should have Vol fans extremely excited for the 2018 season.
Tennessee’s whole offensive roster will essentially be back next season (except for running back Madre London, who is a senior). If players like Palmer take another step (or two) forward next season, and the offensive line improves any, then the Vols’ offense is going to be pretty fun to watch.
It’s important for folks to remember it sometimes takes college athletes until their junior or senior years to truly make an impact. There’s a big learning curve when players make the leap from high school to college. Some kids are able to “get it” quickly, while others take a year or two to settle in.
We have no clue how good Palmer can be. But I think the sky is the limit for him. He’s easily one of the most underrated players on Tennessee’s roster.
I wouldn’t be shocked if he becomes a household name in SEC country by this time next year.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports