It seems as if the offseason is becoming increasingly optimistic for the Vols’ 2018-2019 football season. Today, Jauan Jennings was granted a medical redshirt because of his injury suffered in the 2017 season opener against Georgia Tech. After an absolutely magical 2016, Jennings was set to be a leader on and off of the field for the Vols. He had surgery and was predicted to be out for nearly 12 weeks, and was seemingly absent for a majority of the season. Towards the end of his recovery, he tried to come back, and pandemonium followed. After an instagram rant regarding his return, Jennings was kicked off of the team indefinitely, but was eventually brought back to the Vols under the wings of Pruitt and after heavy backlash from Vol nation. He was said to be on a short leash, but as long as Jennings is wearing orange and white, Vol fans are happy.
Now, Jennings will be wearing orange and white for an additional season. Because his injury caused him to miss the season and he played in less than one-third of the games, Jennings had the opportunity to apply for a redshirt. After he came back on the team, it seemed as if Jauan Jennings’ eligibility was never brought into question. However, the request was officially approved today, and Jennings will now appear on the field as a redshirt junior instead of a senior. This extra year of eligibility is not something to overlook, because Jennings’ presence in the lockeroom and as a part of Vol Nation is monumental, and he will be able to be a fourth and fifth year veteran alongside the Calloway that doesn’t fail NFL Combine drug tests.
After 40 receptions, 580 yards, and 7 touchdowns in 2016, Jennings will be expected to be a large part of the Tennessee offense yet again, and will mix in perfectly with the conglomeration of young talent at the position. One of the most influential players in recent history for the Vols gets to play in Neyland for an additional year now, and Vol nation could not be any happier. After already breaking Tabor’s ankles and ripping Georgia’s heart out, his legacy is already established, but hopefully will become only much better over the next two years.