A promising Tennessee receiving corps suffered a setback Friday when freshman wide receiver Alton “Pig” Howard underwent surgery on his left foot.
The injury will prevent Howard from taking part in preseason football practice. He could join the Vols early in the regular season, according to Jimmy Stanton, UT’s associate athletic director of communications,
Stanton didn’t have specific details on the injury or surgery.
Howard is one of the most heralded recruits in the 2012 signing class. The four-star recruit from Orlando, Fla., already has impressed veteran teammates with his speed and elusiveness during voluntary summer workouts.
Cornerback Marsalis Teague, one of the UT seniors involved in a Habitat for Humanity project Saturday, brought up Howard when asked what player he was most curious to see in game action.
“Just because of his running ability and speed,” said Teague, who has gone against Howard this summer in seven-on-seven drills. “He’s a hard worker. So he’s one of those guys I wanted to see what he would look like once he got on the field.”
When linebacker Herman Lathers was asked the same question, he also mentioned the 5-foot-9, 180-pound Howard.
“I’m excited to see him play,” Lathers said. “He’s really fast.”
UT isn’t lacking for proven receivers. Junior Da’Rick Rogers made first-team All-SEC last season; Justin Hunter, who suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee during the third game last year, could be a first-round NFL draft pick if he decides to turn pro after the 2012 season, his third at UT.
Senior Zach Rogers, who has 10 career starts, also returns.
The Vols added four more receivers in 2012 recruiting class, including Howard and junior college transfer Cordarrelle Patterson.
John Adams is a senior columnist. Follow him at http://twitter.com/johnadamskns