The most important thing that happened for Tennessee since the end of the regular season was Nico Iamaleava’s performance in the Citrus Bowl. The former five-star’s performance ensured that the Vols have a quarterback going forward, so everything else is ancillary.
In the portal, Josh Heupel went to work to build an offense around Iamaleava, adding two tight ends, Miles Kitselman from Alabama, who had just two catches for 18 yards and Holden Staes from Notre Dame, who posted 176 yards and four touchdowns on 15 catches as a sophomore in 2023, offensive tackle Lance Heard from LSU, and Chris Brazzell Tulane’s former No. 1 wide receiver.
Heard will replace Gerald Mincey who transferred away to Kentucky. Heupel also had to fill holes on defense with Tyler Baron, who was second on the Vols in sacks, heading for Louisville. Mincey and Baron headlined the group of 12 outgoing transfers, but the eight additions offset those losses and will be crucial to Iamaleava’s success.