KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Bru McCoy could establish himself as the Vols’ top wide receiver this season. The USC transfer had a solid first year on Rocky Top, ranking second on the team with 667 yards on 52 receptions while averaging 12.8 yards per catch. McCoy did that all while battling a shoulder injury.

This season, the wideout is back and healthy, with all eyes on him to perform in year two, including those eyes of the younger guys who look up to McCoy as a role model.

“A year ago when he got here, coming off the injury that he had come off of, he was just trying to figure out how to play and operate in practice inside of what we do offensively,” said Head Coach Josh Heupel. “Since January, he’s been on our leadership council. He’s been very intentional in how he’s grown. It’s been fun to see him take those steps. He owns it. He likes being in that role. He’s got a real positive effect on everyone around him.”

The other returning receivers for the Vols include Squirrel White and Ramel Keyton. Add in Oregon transfer Dont’e Thornton and a couple of strong freshman, and Huepel has high expectations for the receiving core.

“There are three guys that have a bunch of time in our offense,” said Heupel. “Played really well. Done a great job being in sync with the quarterback. Dont’e Thornton has continued to really grow. Love what he’s done. The two younger guys inside of our building— Chas (Nimrod) and Kaleb (Webb)— have taken great strides all offseason but this training camp they were a different player than they were in spring ball too in a positive way. Love what those guys are doing. That’s on the offensive side of the ball and it’s also on special teams.”