SAD NEWS: Just In Tennessee Football Head Coach Just Announced The Departure Of Another Two Top Sensational High Profile Superstar Due To…

The annual Blue-Chip Ratio was unveiled on Tuesday, providing an early look at the teams that history indicates have a chance to win the 2024 NCAA football championship. It should come as no surprise that Ohio State, Alabama, and Georgia have produced the largest percentage of four- and five-star prospects in recent years.

However, one well-known brand that was conspicuously missing from the list had the ingredients to attempt a national title run, just as Washington did the year before, even though it did not have the Blue-Chip Ratio. Tennessee is that team, which BCR author Bud Elliott has highlighted as an anomaly to keep an eye on.

“By the ‘narrowly misses the minimum threshold + transcendent QB’ standard, Tennessee (46%) is the most obvious candidate to bust the ratio in 2024,” wrote Elliot. “QB Nico Iamaleava has special physical talent, and if Tennessee can stay healthy at offensive line and in the secondary, perhaps the Volunteers could pull off something special.”

Under head coach Josh Heupel, Tennessee is 20-6 in the last two seasons and has already made a threat to break the BCR. After rising to the top of the first CFP Rankings for that season, the Volunteers finished 11-2 and won the Orange Bowl, but they just missed out on the four-team College Football Playoff in 2022.

Despite their 2023 9-4 record, the Vols may have one important thing in common with the 2022 squad: elite quarterback play, or at least the potential for it. Hendon Hooker, a former quarterback for Tennessee, placed fifth in the 2022 Heisman Trophy voting. Had he not missed the season’s finale due to injury, he would have placed even higher. Although Iamaleava has experience, the Vols have high hopes for him.

Entire bet on Nico Iamaleava
Having served as Joe Milton’s apprentice for a season, Iamaleava appears to be the program’s next big quarterback. Outside of Arch Manning, the former five-star prospect was the only player in the Class of 2023 ranked behind him. As a true freshman, Iamaleava saw little playing time, but when he did play, he was excellent.

Against Iowa’s top defense, Iamaleava skillfully managed the challenge and earned his first start in Tennessee’s 35-0 Citrus Bowl victory. As part of a four-score day, he completed 12 of 19 passes for 151 yards and a touchdown; the Vols scored more points against Iowa than any other team in 2023.

The Volunteers are anticipated to gradually approach the level of merciless offensive efficiency that propelled them to the top of the country in total offense in 2022, now that Iamaleava is starting his second year in the program.

Washington came within one game of breaking the Blue-Chip Ratio last year despite finishing outside of it thanks to outstanding quarterback play from Michael Penix Jr. The Huskies’ 14-1 season served as a shining example of how a team can overcome any disadvantages by using an elite quarterback and a well-honed offensive scheme, even though they ultimately lost to Michigan in the CFP National Championship.

In Tennessee, the best-case scenario for 2024 would resemble this.

Iamaleava is ranked among the top 10 preseason favorites at several sportsbooks to win the Heisman Trophy. Should Hooker’s output from him be comparable, the Vols could emulate Washington’s campaign from the previous year and pose a threat to the Blue-Chip Ratio.

Are wideouts a barrier?
Though they still have one more obstacle to clear, the Volunteers seem to be the team with the best chance of breaking the BCR. It will take enormous progress at receiver for the Vols to emulate what Washington accomplished the previous season.

In the first three rounds of the 2024 NFL Draft, three Washington receivers were chosen, with Rome Odunze going to pick ninth overall. It will be difficult for the Volunteers to match that caliber of elite receiver play unless a few breakout players show up and play at an all-conference caliber.

Though no other wide receiver on Tennessee’s 2024 roster caught more than 20 passes for the Volunteers in 2023, leading receiver Squirrel White is back after making 67 grabs for 803 yards and two touchdowns. A few players to keep an eye on are Chris Brazzell II, a Tulane transfer who made 44 grabs for the Green Wave as a redshirt freshman, and veteran Bru McCoy, whose 2023 season was cut short by injury.

Dont’e Thornton, a transfer from Oregon, is a candidate for more after making 13 grabs for 224 yards. Additionally, the Volunteers signed Mike Matthews and Braylon Staley, two of the top 15 wide receiver prospects in the Class of 2024.

Iamaleava has the talent in the room to put up absurd stats and force the Vols to surrender more than 500 yards of total offense per game. However, Tennessee’s 2024 receiver group differs from Washington’s 2023 group in that the Huskies came into their championship year with proven performers. In2022, Odunze and Jalen McMillan both had receiving yards totals above 1,000, and Ja’lynn Polk was a viable alternative.

The Volunteers used Jalin Hyatt, the 2022 Biletnikoff winner, and a wide receiver arsenal that included five players with at least 30 catches and multiple touchdowns during their breakthrough season. In 2024, getting back to that level will be crucial.



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