KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Tennessee Volunteers are no strangers to suiting up for the NFL gridiron on Sundays. The university had at least one player selected in the NFL Draft from 1963 through 2014, the sixth-longest streak in college football at the time.
A total of 28 Tennessee Vols are on 2021 NFL rosters, headlined by 4-time Pro Bowl running back Alvin Kamara.
RB/WR Cordarrelle Patterson (UT from 2012)
Entering his ninth NFL season, Patterson joined the Atlanta Falcons after spending the last two years with the Chicago Bears. He leads the league in kickoffs returned for touchdowns since he entered the league in 2013. This season could see him break the record for most career kickoff returns for a touchdown in NFL history.
OT Ja’Wuan James (UT from 2010-2013)
After signing a four-year, $51 million contract with the Denver Broncos in 2019, the eight-year NFL veteran was cut earlier this year when he suffered a torn Achilles while training away from the team facility. He signed a two-year deal with the Baltimore Ravens where he is currently on the injured reserve while he recovers from his injury.
OG/DE Kahlil McKenzie (UT from 2015-2017)
McKenzie has bounced around the NFL and even had a short stint in the XFL with the DC Defenders and Los Angeles Wildcats. Now, he’s a member of the Baltimore Ravens practice squad. He’s the son of former NFL linebacker Reggie McKenzie.
DT Malik Jackson (UT from 2010-2011)
The Los Angeles-native was selected by the Denver Broncos in the 2012 NFL Draft after two straight ALL-SEC seasons on Rocky Top. He played a key role in a stellar Broncos defense in route to a Super Bowl victory in 2015. Jackson famously scored his first career touchdown in Super Bowl 50 after he recovered a fumble by Panthers QB Cam Newton.
RB John Kelly (UT from 2015-2017)
After ranking second in the SEC and 25th in the nation in yards from scrimmage/game as a junior in 2017, Kelly was drafted in the sixth round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams. He has appeared in eight career NFL games and saw action on special teams in both the 2018 NFC Championship and Super Bowl LIII against the Patriots. He signed with Browns practice squad on Sept. 1.
LB Alexander Johnson (UT from 2011-2014)
Johnson became the fourth UT player in program history to have 400 career tackles and set a school record for assisted tackles during his four years on Rocky Top. After signing with the Broncos in 2018, Pro Football Focus rated him as the #4 linebacker and #46 player in the entire NFL in the 2019 season.
LB Jalen Reeves-Maybin (UT from 2013-2016)
The Clarksville, Tennessee-native is entering his fifth NFL season after resigning with the Detroit Lions. n 55 career games (three starts), he has produced 59 total defensive tackles and 31 total special teams tackles.
Kansas City Chiefs
OL Trey Smith (UT from 2017-2020)
Entering his first NFL season, Smith was selected in the 6th round by the 2019 Super Bowl champions after a stellar four-year career at Tennessee. He became the first true freshman to start at left tackle for the Vols in over 30 years, earning Freshman All-American honors in the process. He was awarded a 2021 Tennessee Torchbearer Award, the university’s highest student honor.
Las Vegas Raiders
DE Kendal Vickers (UT from 2013-2017)
After being cut by two NFL teams in 2018, Vickers spent the 2019 season in the Canadian Football League with the Edmonton Eskimos. The Raiders took note of his play and signed with the Silver and Black in 2020, appearing in 15 games in his first season in Las Vegas. He was signed to the team’s practice squad ahead of the 2021 season.
Los Angeles Chargers
WR Joshua Palmer (UT from 2017-2020)
Hailing from Brampton, Ontario in Canada, Palmer and Smith were the only two Tennessee Vols selected in the 2021 NFL Draft. He appeared in 47 games at Tennessee with 36 starts, garnering 1,514 and seven touchdowns in the process. He scored his first NFL touchdown during the preseason as he looks to build a rapport with Chargers quarterback and 2020 NFL Rookie of the Year Justin Herbert.
CB Justin Coleman (UT from 2011-2014)
Coleman will play in his seventh NFL season and first with the Miami Dolphins in 2021. He started all 13 games in his final season on Rocky Top, recording 42 tackles and a team-high four interceptions. While he did not play in the playoffs, he was a member of the New England Patriots team that won Super Bowl LI in 2016.
P Michael Palardy (UT from 2010-2013)
In his final year at Tennessee, Palardy was just one of seven players in FBS to handle all three kicking phases and led the FBS in the percentage of punts that landed inside the 20-yard line. Palardy will suit up for the Dolphins in 2021, his ninth team in his six-year NFL career.
New England Patriots
FB Jakob Johnson (UT from 2014-2017)
Johnson started his Tennessee career as a linebacker before switching to tight end as a sophomore. Following his graduation in 2018, he returned to his native Germany to spend a year with the Stuttgart Scorpions of the German Football League. He joined the Patriots in 2019 where he has carved out an NFL role as a blocking full back.
New Orleans Saints
WR Marquez Callaway (UT from 2016-2019)
Callaway enters the 2021 NFL season after a promising 2020 campaign with the New Orleans Saints. He is expected to take on a leading role as Saints All-Pro receiver Michael Thomas recovers from ankle surgery. He ranks sixteenth all-time in Tennessee program history for receiving yards and second all-time for punt return touchdowns.
RB Alvin Kamara (UT from 2015-2016)
Kamara has ranked among the NFL’s best running backs since being selected in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He took home the 2017 NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and has earned a Pro Bowl selection in all four of his NFL seasons. In 2020, Kamara became the second player in NFL history to score six rushing touchdowns in a single game.
DT Shy Tuttle (UT from 2015-2018)
Tuttle has turned into a regular on the Saints defense after signing as an undrafted free agent in 2019. He played in all 16 regular season games in 2019, recording 18 tackles, two sacks, one interception and four passes defended.
TE Ethan Wolf (UT from 2015-2018)
Wolf will serve on the Saints’ practice squad after he was released from the active roster in August. He has spent time on the active roster or practice squad of eight different NFL teams since originally signing with the Tennessee Titans in 2018. He finished collegiate career ranked second in Volunteers history for receptions and third for receiving yards among tight ends.
New York Jets
DL Kyle Phillips (UT from 2015-2018)
After signing with the Jets as an undrafted free agent in 2019, Phillips appeared in 15 games as a rookie. He recorded 39 tackles, nine TFLs, 1.5 sacks and a pass defended in 2019. He suffered a season-ending ankle injury in 2020 and begins the 2021 season on the injured reserve list. Phillips was named Tennessee’s defensive player of the year in his senior season.
DE Derrick Barnett (UT from 2014-2016)
Barnett set the Tennessee program record for career sacks previously held by NFL Hall of Famer Reggie White. When the Eagles selected Barnett 14th overall in the 2014 NFL Draft, he became the highest draft pick from Tennessee since Eric Berry in 2010. He wrote his name into franchise history when he recovered a fumble from Tom Brady in Philadelphia’s 2018 Super Bowl win over the New England Patriots.
TE Jason Croom (UT from 2014-2016)
Croom enters his second season with the Eagles after spending the first two years of his NFL career with the Buffalo Bills. He was placed on the injured reserve after suffering a knee injury during the 2021 preseason.
CB Cameron Sutton (UT from 2013-2016)
Sutton will suit for his fifth season with the Pittsburgh Steelers after being selected in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He finished in Tennessee’s career as the all-time leader in passes defended, including seven interceptions. He has appeared in 52 games with Steelers, recording 69 tackles, four forced fumbles, four interceptions and two sacks.
QB Joshua Dobbs (UT from 2013-2016)
Dobbs tied Condredge Holloway for the fifth-most wins by a Tennessee quarterback in program history. He also set the record for career rushing yards and career touchdowns by a Vols QB while ranking fifth all-time in career passing yards. A career backup in the NFL entering his fifth professional season, Dobbs has appeared six games in his career.
San Francisco 49ers
WR Jauan Jennings (UT from 2014-2017)
Jennings was a fan favorite at Tennessee for his toughness and famous Hail Mary catch to beat Georgia in 2016. The 6-3, 208-pounder from Murfreesboro, Tenn. finished fifth all-time in receptions at UT, fourth in receiving yards, and tied for 5th in career touchdown receptions. He spent the 2020 season on the 49ers practice squad and dealing with injury. He is expected to take on an expanded role in his sophomore season.
WR Jalen Hurd (UT from 2015-2019)
A prolific running back in his three seasons at Tennessee, Hurd finished with the sixth-most rushing yards in Tennessee history before transferring to Baylor in 2017. The Hendersonville, Tenn. native switched to wide receiver and was named Big 12 Offensive Newcomer of the Year in his first season in Texas. He was drafted in the 3rd round of the 2019 NFL Draft and has spent most of his NFL career on the injured reserve list, where he starts the 2021 campaign.
CB Emmanuel Moseley (UT from 2014-2017)
Moseley was a defensive stalwart in his four years at Tennessee, appearing in 51 games including 31 starts. He signed with the 49ers as an undrafted free agent in 2018, making his NFL debut in a 34-3 win over the Oakland Raiders. Moseley played in 16 games in 2019 in route to an appearance in Super Bowl LIV, recording five tackles and a pass deflection in a loss to the Chiefs. He signed a two-year, $10.1 million contract extension ahead of the 2021 season.
DE Darrell Taylor (UT from 2015-2019)
Appearing at both linebacker and defensive end in college, the Virginia-native finished his collegiate career with the 10th most sacks in program history. He was just the third Vol ever to record four sacks in a game in 2018. He was selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft but did not appear in action after two stints on the active/non-football injury list as he recovered from leg surgery.
CB Nigel Warrior (UT from 2016-2019)
Warrior was claimed off waivers by the Seahawks after spending the 2020 season with the Baltimore Ravens’ practice squad. A three-year starter at safety for the Vols, he was named to the All-SEC first team in his senior season. The Georgia native also earned All-Freshman team honors in 2016.
LS Morgan Cox (UT from 2005-2009)
The longest-tenured Tennessee Volunteer in the NFL, Cox is entering his 12 NFL season and his first with the Tennessee Titans. A native of Collierville, Tennessee, Cox made four Pro Bowl appearances over 11 seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. The long snapper has appeared in 165 regular season games since graduating from Tennessee in 2009.