Vols Velus Jones and Alontae Taylor Joining Coach Heupel at SEC Media Days
(utsports.com) BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — The Southeastern Conference office announced Wednesday that redshirt senior wide receiver Velus Jones Jr. and senior defensive back Alontae Taylor will join head coach Josh Heupel to represent the Vols at the 2021 SEC Football Media Days next week in Birmingham, Alabama.
Tennessee’s trio will make the media rounds Tuesday, July 20 at The Wynfrey Hotel. ESPN and SEC Network will provide live coverage of the event, with Coach Heupel set to make his Media Days debut on the main podium at 11:30 a.m. ET / 10:30 a.m. CT.
Jones and Taylor will also be making their first appearances at SEC Media Days, as all three Tennessee representatives are scheduled to visit with local, regional and national members of the media to preview the upcoming season.
The Josh Heupel era gets underway Thursday, September 2, when the Vols host Bowling Green at Neyland Stadium. A 2018 National Coach of the Year finalist and dynamic offensive playcaller, Heupel spent the past three seasons at UCF and compiled a 28-8 record with the Knights while going 19-5 against members of the American Athletic Conference. As a player, Heupel led Oklahoma to a national championship in 2001 and was runner-up for the Heisman Trophy in 2000.
A versatile receiver and dynamic return specialist, Jones elected to return for his sixth season at the collegiate level and second with the Vols in 2021. Last season, he played all 10 games with six starts, ranking third on the team in receptions (22) and receiving yards (280) while finishing second on the team in receiving touchdowns (three). Jones also led the SEC in kickoff return yards (398) and was second in the league in kickoff return average (22.11). The Saraland, Alabama, native had a breakout performance at Vanderbilt, setting career-highs with seven catches, 125 receiving yards and two receiving touchdowns.
One of Tennessee’s defensive leaders on and off the field, Taylor has played 33 games with 19 starts since 2018. The senior from Manchester, Tennessee, has racked up 102 tackles, four tackles for loss, 11 passes defended and a pair of interceptions and forced fumbles over the past three seasons. He was selected to the 2020-21 SEC Football Leadership Council and recently completed his second term as vice chair.