The Tennessee Volunteers may lack depth at some positions, but not wide receiver. The Vols feature a talented slew of pass catchers, including preseason Coaches All-SEC first-teamer Marquez North, JUCO All-American and Mid-Empire Conference MVP Von Pearson and five-star freshman Josh Malone.

Tennessee opens its season Sunday against Utah State. The Vols will face a pass defense that lost four starters– safety Maurice Alexander and cornerbacks Nevin Lawson, Tay Glover-Wright and Quinton Byrd– who were multi-year starters and combined for all but two possible starts during the 2013 season. Clayton Christensen and Cameron Sanders, two of Utah State’s most experienced reserves who combined to appear in 63 games, also moved on due to graduation. The Aggies’ lone returning starter is senior free safety Brian Suite, an all-Mountain West honorable mention honoree last year and the only player in the secondary to start all 14 games in 2013.

Utah State ranked No. 15 in pass efficiency defense (115.3) and No. 52 pass defense nationally last season, allowing 224.1 passing yards per game last season. However, with an inexperienced secondary facing one of the SEC’s most talented receiving corps, the matchup strongly favors Tennessee. Utah State will start three sophomores alongside Suite and fellow senior Rashard Stewart. For all of Suite’s accolades, an inexperienced Utah State pass defense will need more to shut down the speed of Tennessee’s receivers.

The Vols must see a big performance from Justin Worley on Sunday. Facing a similar problem, Tennessee is looking to replace its entire starting offensive line. If the Vols can give the senior quarterback time to throw, he should be able to find talented receivers in space. Tennessee’s receivers enter the season with high expectations and should exploit their favorable matchup against Utah State’s pass defense. If this group truly has the talent that fans hope for, the Vol wideouts will have plenty of opportunities to showcase it.

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