Jacob Carter asked to lead group of receivers he's behind in Tennessee's depth chart

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL
Tennessee wide receiver Jacob Carter carries the ball in the fourth quarter against Georgia State at Neyland Stadium on Sept. 8, 2012.

Photo by Amy Smotherman Burgess

AMY SMOTHERMAN BURGESS/NEWS SENTINEL Tennessee wide receiver Jacob Carter carries the ball in the fourth quarter against Georgia State at Neyland Stadium on Sept. 8, 2012.

Vols practice on Monday, Aug. 5, 2013

One year ago this month, Jacob Carter was pulled aside after practice by then-Tennessee football coach Derek Dooley. After two years as a walk-on, the undersized wide receiver from Nashville was told he’d earned a scholarship.

It was a deserved distinction. It was also one resulting from the dismissal of then-standout receiver Da’Rick Rogers.

If Carter thought he’d stolen fire from the sky with the scholarship, then this year’s circumstances are at least equally absurd.

Carter is now UT’s third-leading returning receiver. He’s being asked to lead a young group of receivers as a wiley veteran but, despite all that, is battling for a job after being left off the preseason depth chart.

What?

“I do (consider the circumstances) every now and then, but you can’t really think too much about the past,” Carter said following Monday’s practice as Haslam Field. “I feel like I’m blessed to be here, but I can’t ever be satisfied. That’s how a lot of the guys are.”

And there are a lot of guys. Carter’s absence from the depth chart means he’s behind at least seven receivers, including fellow returnees Vincent Dallas and Pig Howard. The three combined for 40 catches last season, while the departed Justin Hunter, Cordarrelle Patterson and Zach Rogers accounted for 54 percent of the team’s catches (154), 62.1 percent of the receiving yards (2,352) and 60 percent of the touchdown receptions (21).

“(Playing time) is kind of in (the veteran’s) hands, but there’s no real entitlement right now,” Carter said. “Even though we have a few catches, that doesn’t really mean much. The opportunity is kind of in the air right now.”

Wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has enlisted Carter and Dallas to lead his herd of young wideouts. This sets up a quagmire. Carter and Dallas, in their own right, want playing time and still have a lot to prove.

“You can’t really worry about that,” said Carter, who finished 2012 with eight catches for 124 yards and one touchdown. “You’re trying to get everybody better because it’s not really about self-promotion ... You don’t really want to put anyone else down for you to get up.”

Carter said he’s unaware when roles will be defined and playing time delineated.

“Right now we’re rotating a lot and I think it’s going to stay that way for a while,” he said.

But for now, Carter remains deep in the depth chart. If he needs any motivation, he can just look to this time last year.

Crazier things have happened.

Training day:Tight end Justin King, linebacker Christian Harris, strong safeties LaDarrell McNeil and Byron Moore each spent the early portion of Monday’s practice on the sidelines working with trainers.

Extra running:Running backs coach Robert Gillespie was displeased with Rajion Neal’s execution of a drill and subsequent reaction to being corrected during period five of practice.

Neal was still running laps when practice was closed to the media after period seven.

Getting relentless:The newest addition to UT’s preseason is an orange banner reading “RELENTLESS” covering the scaffolding of a 30-foot video tower in the far end zone lining Todd Helton Drive.

Flock from the North:Few Vols have enjoyed the influx of Michiganders to the UT coaching staff more than backup nose tackle Danny O’Brien.

The Flint native is the only UT player hailing from Michigan, while coach Butch Jones, seven of his nine assistants and most of the training staff are from the state or have ties there.

“Some of those guys are from Saginaw and other rival cities to Flint and we always joke around,” O’Brien said. “It’s a good time. It’s definitely good to have some people from (Michigan) down here.”

Brendan F. Quinn covers Tennessee football and men’s basketball. Follow him at Twitter.com/BFQuinn.

© 2013 govolsxtra.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  • Discuss
  • Print

Related Topics

Comments » 17

6972 writes:

If I were a betting man, I'd bet the farm that Coach G. got Rajon's attention. Focus Rajon...focus.

DwayneElizondoMountainDewHerbertCamacho writes:

For a player who has amassed an uninspiring 7 rushing touchdowns over his career and whose longest run in college football was 40 yards...in 2010, maybe Neal should lay off the backtalk and recognize that his mediocrity would probably not be tolerated if there was another, better option at his position.

richvol writes:

I hate to see Jacob Carter not getting reps. This kid is a winner. He gets open AND catches the ball. He is the definition of a possession receiver.

philgreen5#410561 writes:

It seems to me a possession receiver like Jacob with good hands would be critical for young qb's trying to move the chains and gain some confidence.

volfanz writes:

in response to philgreen5#410561:

It seems to me a possession receiver like Jacob with good hands would be critical for young qb's trying to move the chains and gain some confidence.

Fantastic post and I couldn't have said it better myself!!!

10seVol85_Part_Deux writes:

in response to philgreen5#410561:

It seems to me a possession receiver like Jacob with good hands would be critical for young qb's trying to move the chains and gain some confidence.

He also had the third-highest yards per catch on the team last season, behind Patterson and Dallas, but not by much -- less than a yard. He is not only a good possession receiver, but his yards per catch also says he's either a deep threat or gets good YAC.

licknpromise777#651578 writes:

in response to richvol:

I hate to see Jacob Carter not getting reps. This kid is a winner. He gets open AND catches the ball. He is the definition of a possession receiver.

Nailed it..Dallas has also done everything asked of him. Sometimes the fastest WR isn't always the best. Neither are flashy but still get the job done

irnmanvol writes:

sounds like we might have a tough group of w.r to jump in front of...I Like It !!! G.B.O

antonio14313 writes:

a team is only as good as it's weakest link. and, if jacob carter can help out his fellow WRs to where they're better than him, then we'll have a pretty good set of WRs. he'd be a pretty good 7th option! and, if he does get higher in the rotation, then that's all better for him. a win win for all.

iron sharpens iron...

go vols!

t

Southland writes:

love our coaches so far, just wished they were not michigan men hope they learn to speak properly and learn southern manners

bUTch_please writes:

in response to Southland:

love our coaches so far, just wished they were not michigan men hope they learn to speak properly and learn southern manners

ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm...our last coach was Georgia royalty.

Go Team #117.
9 and 3, fine by me.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

ummmmmmmmmmmmmmm...our last coach was Georgia royalty.

Go Team #117.
9 and 3, fine by me.

Maybe our last coach should build a law practice.

I love our new coaches and their enthusiasm. Start some players like Jacob and who knows we may get an extra win or two. ??

Last year I critcized HUnter a lot but as I watched his misses more I realized that a lot of times the ball was just thrown too hard for some types of catches. He caught most that Tyler hit him in the numbers. Maybe our current QBs will learn from that. I'm not anything close to being a coach but maybe I'm right.

Go Vols. Go players like Jacob that push the team forward.

62vol writes:

Some posters are equating the depth chart to reps but the article did not say Carter is not getting reps in practice. It did not say that half of the receivers may be redshirted and it did not say that Carter will not be in the starting rotation. This could be a routine ploy of the present coaching staff to shake up some veteran guys. Motivation can come in many forms.

bUTch_please writes:

in response to mocsandvolsfan:

Maybe our last coach should build a law practice.

I love our new coaches and their enthusiasm. Start some players like Jacob and who knows we may get an extra win or two. ??

Last year I critcized HUnter a lot but as I watched his misses more I realized that a lot of times the ball was just thrown too hard for some types of catches. He caught most that Tyler hit him in the numbers. Maybe our current QBs will learn from that. I'm not anything close to being a coach but maybe I'm right.

Go Vols. Go players like Jacob that push the team forward.

Bray did none of the receivers any favors under 10 yards. He'll fix that in KC or the locker room will have input on that subject. Hunter has a position coach in Nashville that's been in his grill for 3 months now. He's one week away from stepping up toughness or flushing out his rookie season.

Coach Jones has been 2 steps ahead of every need this team has. I would suspect there is a tremendous amount of motivational slight of hand going on every minute of every practice to get as many players as possible to dig in..now. Jacob will be a huge contributor to this years team. He's steady, careful with the ball and makes positive yardage after the catch. He is also mature enough to help build his corner of the team.

mocsandvolsfan writes:

in response to bUTch_please:

Bray did none of the receivers any favors under 10 yards. He'll fix that in KC or the locker room will have input on that subject. Hunter has a position coach in Nashville that's been in his grill for 3 months now. He's one week away from stepping up toughness or flushing out his rookie season.

Coach Jones has been 2 steps ahead of every need this team has. I would suspect there is a tremendous amount of motivational slight of hand going on every minute of every practice to get as many players as possible to dig in..now. Jacob will be a huge contributor to this years team. He's steady, careful with the ball and makes positive yardage after the catch. He is also mature enough to help build his corner of the team.

I certainly hope for Hunter that he does well. I'm a big believer in stayin' in college, especially ball players."Money ain't everything"(I guess that's a quote).

BIVOLAR_BEARE writes:

in response to 6972:

If I were a betting man, I'd bet the farm that Coach G. got Rajon's attention. Focus Rajon...focus.

Agreed, this whole staff means business.

HallowedHill writes:

Carter shouldn't worry about not being listed yet. Coach Jones' spread offense is going to require an arsenal of WR's. Carter just needs to make the most of his opportunities and the rest will take care of itself. Carter, or anyone for that matter that wants playing time, needs to have the mentality that they are willing to out-work, out-study, out-hustle, everyone else on the team. Luck favors those that are prepared.

GO VOLS!

Want to participate in the conversation? Become a subscriber today. Subscribers can read and comment on any story, anytime. Non-subscribers will only be able to view comments on select stories.

Features