Jacob Carter giving Vols surprise production at wide receiver

Walk-on WR gives Vols surprise production

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee wide receiver Jacob Carter catches a pass during a drill at the first football practice of the spring at Haslam Field on March 26.

Photo by Michael Patrick, copyright © 2012

MICHAEL PATRICK/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee wide receiver Jacob Carter catches a pass during a drill at the first football practice of the spring at Haslam Field on March 26.

Jacob  Carter

Jacob Carter

There's an all-conference selection lagging well behind a walk-on in catches.

The only guy who has made more grabs than a largely unknown reserve this spring is a senior tight end, and those receptions haven't put the veteran all that close to the lead in yardage.

Even the return of Justin Hunter and a couple big plays from the junior weren't quite enough to knock the underdog from the top of Tennessee's leaderboard.

The Vols might be short on options in the passing game this spring, and they could use the infusion of talent that will be on campus in time for fall. But they still have a handful of proven targets, and statistically all of them right now are trying to keep up with Jacob Carter.

"We don't have too much depth right now, so everybody's working in," Carter said after practice on Tuesday. "Everybody's getting some time on the field, so it hasn't surprised me too much.

"Everybody's getting opportunities right now. You've just got to make the most of it, I guess."

There might not be anybody on the UT roster squeezing more out of their chances than Carter at the moment, and it hasn't gone unnoticed af

ter making an impact in both scrimmages during camp.

Thanks to some overall struggles in the passing game, the first outing might not have stood out as much despite tying for the team lead with four catches and finishing with 38 yards. But he followed that up with four more grabs in the second live session on Saturday, and with an eye-catching 102 yards that was easily the highest total of the afternoon, the positive reviews started rolling in from teammates and coaches alike.

"Jacob is doing a good job," Vols coach Derek Dooley said. " ... He's playing with a lot of toughness and he's playing with consistency, so what he's doing out there hasn't been a fluke. He works hard, he's got good size, he's tough, he's got good hands, so he's been able to be productive.

"When you're a consistent player, especially at wideout, you have an ability to be productive because the quarterbacks trust you. They know where you're going to be and they know what your skill sets are."

Justin Worley has been the passer taking advantage of that familiarity the most with Carter, and the rapport between the two on the second-team offense has clearly yielded positive results for the Vols.

The yardage the tandem has racked up is unlikely to help Worley push starter Tyler Bray for playing time at quarterback, and with four highly-touted recruits on the way to join up with Hunter, Da'Rick Rogers and tight end Mychal Rivera, Carter might still have a hard time cracking the rotation in the passing game.

But he's already earned a promotion on special teams, and Carter might also have done enough to at least present himself as another option to consider on offense.

"You know, Zach (Rogers), Da'Rick, Justin, they're phenomenal receivers right now," Carter said. "I just do what I can. Justin (Worley) is going to give me opportunities to make plays, and I'm going to try to help him out as much as I can. All those guys, they have your back. No matter if you're the last guy on the depth chart or anything.

"I think they're slowly gaining some trust in me."

And if anybody is holding out, at this point Carter can simply refer to the stats sheet this spring.

Austin Ward covers Tennessee football. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Vols_Beat and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/ward.

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Comments » 30

Huttdawg100 writes:

I must know I've overlooked it, but what year is he?

greatdaysahead writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

I must know I've overlooked it, but what year is he?

Sophomore

1Volunteer writes:

in response to Huttdawg100:

I must know I've overlooked it, but what year is he?

red-shirt sophomore

PUL4VOLS writes:

We can't have too many receivers and if he gets in with Worley it could be a part of our future. I am glad to heaer any good news and results this spring. GO BIG ORANGE!

orange_eVOLution writes:

We're finally getting some depth... everywhere.

GO VOLS!!

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

What a great story, keep up the hard work Jacob..GBO!

HtownVol writes:

in response to orange_eVOLution:

We're finally getting some depth... everywhere.

GO VOLS!!

I wouldnt say everywhere.. Linebacker is still a major concern. Especially for a 3-4.
RB has depth but no proven star.
TE has depth, Rivera is solid but not great.
Oh and D-Line.

Dont get me wrong, the team is sshaping up better than the past 3 years but we are far from deep.

GO VOLS

CoverOrange writes:

Didn't Disney make a movie about him already?

Seriously, if Carter can catch the ball reliably he should push a few others in competing.

Razor784 writes:

I'm happy for Jacob, but if our 2nd team offense is doing this well against the 1st team defense and our new 3/4 alignment, i'd hate to see what somebody like NC state can do to in the season opener

AlexAndersonAAradio writes:

I can see none of you have followed UT football in recent year. Well I have. I can tell you that every spring there is always some unknown player who turns heads and has a very surprising spring practice. Every time this player never does anything during the season. Who knows? Maybe this is an exception but until it happens I think it's just the same ole thing.

VolGrad writes:

Depth.

Compared to last year... yeah, we have depth and even quality depth at some positions. Our senior class is small, but still larger than last year's. Headed in the right direction there. Really could have used a stud LB recruit in this last class though. We may be looking more attractive to the LB recruits after this season. And Sunseri should make a difference there as well.

Go Vols! Think Orange!!!

TitanandVolfan4life writes:

Jacob is a good kid from a good family and he has the right attitudes and works hard.

I think he was a QB in high school and he got hurt pretty bad so he wasn't offered a scholly at any big schools and he wanted to play for Tennessee so he paid his way to school and convinced CDD to let him work as a walk on.

I hope he keeps doing well and gets a chance to work with Bray against the number 1 D guys to show what he can do against our starters on the D.

One thing is certain now, all the guys on the D will know who Jacob is and they'll be playing him closer and tougher now so it's going to be interesting to watch and see what he can do.

I hope he turns out to be a great WR so we'll have even more quality depth to keep teams worried and keep the production good when Hunter or Rogers needs a breather.

VFL...GBO!!!

volinlm writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

I can see none of you have followed UT football in recent year. Well I have. I can tell you that every spring there is always some unknown player who turns heads and has a very surprising spring practice. Every time this player never does anything during the season. Who knows? Maybe this is an exception but until it happens I think it's just the same ole thing.

Ever the optimist, huh?

GoVols_16 writes:

I'll take the hardworking boys over the prima donnas any day... #WesWelker

VolCrazie5 writes:

Zach Rogers does not impress me at all.... sorry.... GBO!!

Vol43 writes:

Jacob is a nephew of a friend of mine. He's been telling me about Jacob for some time. His face lights up when he talks about the kid. Man, that's great and I hope his dreams come true.

jakethevolguy writes:

Nothing like home grown guys that really want to wear the Orange. Jacob will give his all for Tennessee!! GBO!!

AlpharettaVol writes:

How can you write about a kid for the first time and not mention where he is from, what year he is, how tall he is, how much he weighs, etc.? This is Journalism 101 and apparently Austin Ward did not pass this course.

GoVols_16 writes:

in response to 45ReVOLver:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

I'll take dummies any day if they: 1)work hard, 2)have a great attitude, 3)can catch the ball. Say what you will, but the guy plays very tough & catches a lot of balls. That will move the chains every time. #Truth

CoverOrange writes:

in response to AlexAndersonAAradio:

I can see none of you have followed UT football in recent year. Well I have. I can tell you that every spring there is always some unknown player who turns heads and has a very surprising spring practice. Every time this player never does anything during the season. Who knows? Maybe this is an exception but until it happens I think it's just the same ole thing.

Without looking it up, who was last year's hyped player/non-player?

thevoice writes:

in response to GoVols_16:

I'll take the hardworking boys over the prima donnas any day... #WesWelker

Me too. I like this kid. Has a good head on his shoulders and a refreshing attitude.

CroKev writes:

in response to 45ReVOLver:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

You know, there is a 4th down (4 x 3 = 12). If each pass caught is a sure thing for 3 yards, then I'd rather have that than Darr punting a 35 yard dribbler...

Witch_Doctors writes:

Witch Doctor say good for him but when Croom and Bowles show up(Patterson?)and catch up. Witch Doctor think he will get shuffled back a spot or two.
Bones never lie.

SCVFL writes:

Why do the comments always drift completely away from the subject of the article?
What does this article have to do with Wes Welker or gaining only 3 yds?
I thought the story was about a young man working hard to try and prove himself and willing to do anything asked of him to help the VOLS win.
GO Team...GO CDD and staff...GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!
VFL and still bleedin' RNG

born2ride writes:

With Jacob Carter improving at WR maybe De-rek can get rid of Da-rick now.

GoVols_16 writes:

in response to SCVFL:

Why do the comments always drift completely away from the subject of the article?
What does this article have to do with Wes Welker or gaining only 3 yds?
I thought the story was about a young man working hard to try and prove himself and willing to do anything asked of him to help the VOLS win.
GO Team...GO CDD and staff...GO BIG ORANGE!!!!!
VFL and still bleedin' RNG

Agreed--thanks for the clarification.

arkansasvol1975 writes:

We need a good possession reciever, especially on third downs. I still do not understand why Zach Rogers is in the rotation. He dropped dang near everything thrown to him last year, and is nothing like his brother. He is a disappointment after all the hype we heard coming out of high school. He doesnt even look fast to me. I dont care if this kid is a walk on, if he can catch the ball and make plays....put his butt on the field.

VolsLegacy1970 writes:

What kind of size and speed does the kid have? Seems like he has the hands and the toughness IMO. Just an observation. Would someone with some knowledge weigh in?

Bubba_Knows writes:

in response to VolsLegacy1970:

What kind of size and speed does the kid have? Seems like he has the hands and the toughness IMO. Just an observation. Would someone with some knowledge weigh in?

Well, you must be talking to me because nobody has more knowledge than Bubba_Knows. This kid is doing well against the new defense, but as they get the kinks out and the new WR's arrive on campus, you will not hear his name again this year. Still a great story.

RashaadSalabeb writes:

Put him in Coach! Play the guys that produce. It shouldn't matter if he is a 5 star or a walk-on.

Go Vols!

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