Photo by Saul Young, copyright © 2011 // Buy this photo
Unofficially, the shared position, recruiting class and friendship helped create the self-proclaimed Big Three tag.
Officially, at least in the Tennessee playbook lexicon, the trio of Justin Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers and Matt Milton at wide receiver went by something a little less flattering last year.
"We had a grouping called '11 Baby' where it was me, Justin and Matt," Rogers said. "We were always like, this could be it one day, we could all be in the huddle together.
"We like the way it looks."
Physically, there's nothing about it on the surface that wouldn't be appealing as the personnel in '11 Baby' all prepare for their sophomore seasons.
Rogers is among the most gifted athletes on the team and seems to have all the tools necessary to become a major factor in the passing game. Hunter proved a year ago that he can create matchup nightmares with his leaping ability and knack for finding the end zone.
The missing piece that has so far kept that vision of the future from materializing is Milton, who struggled through a transition from quarterback to receiver a year ago and was never really a factor for playing time. Even in spring practice and into the early stages of camp, he has still shown signs of inconsistency with his hands and route-running ability.
And while there's stiff competition for playing time at wideout with freshmen DeAnthony Arnett and Vincent Dallas in the mix and junior Zach Rogers having a productive month, Milton statistically turned in one of the finest performances on the team with four catches for 63 yards and a touchdown in last week's second scrimmage.
"Oh yeah, it feels really good," Milton said. "We've been out there just trying to get things right. We've got a lot of receivers and a lot of guys trying to learn things, so I've just been out there trying to make plays for the coach and make plays for the team.
"(The difference is) just playing faster, I had to play a lot faster. After trying to learn the offense and everything like that, I would catch myself kind of cruising and thinking when I'm running. Now it's all about speed."
Milton has enough of that to be a threat on the perimeter, and at 6-foot-5 he also has the kind of size that can pose problems for defensive backs.
But it can really only create an issue for other teams and a bonus for the Vols if he's able to catch up mentally to what he's capable of physically, because at times he appears to simply be getting in his own way.
"It's so new, certainly with a guy like Matt, when he's thinking out there, everything just goes slow-motion and you have a tendency to look really bad," UT coach Derek Dooley said. "The more he can learn and not think, the better off he'll be.
"He's very inconsistent, and that's probably what's held him back the most, consistency. Some times he does some nice things, then a lot of times he makes a lot of mistakes, and that's held him back a little bit."
Every member of that possible Big Three has parts of the game to improve, which is to be expected after just one season in the program.
Da'Rick Rogers has talked openly in the past about his need to buckle down on the playbook, and Hunter is trying to become a more complete receiver after focusing on just a handful of routes a year ago.
But those two are effectively chiseled into the starting lineup at this point, and it's up to Milton if he's going to beat out the next batch of freshmen and join Hunter and Da'Rick Rogers.
"I think I approach it a little bit differently than some people," Milton said. "Some people approach it as competition, I approach it as trying to help them out. I know the offense now and they don't.
"They've got a lot of ability, so I approach it as, I've got to go get on my job to help them get better."
If that produces a benefit in return for Milton, the Vols might have to come up with an updated name for their personnel package.