Freshman tight end Ethan Wolf returned to Tennessee’s lineup last Saturday after spending the previous two weeks healing a knee injury. Wolf sat out during the Vols’ 34-10 loss to Oklahoma in Week 3 and returned to practice just days before a Week 5 loss to Georgia. But the freshman didn’t miss a beat, recording a career-high 69 yards on five catches in his first SEC game.

“Ethan stepped up and has been providing a playmaking presence in our offense, and that’s been good to see,” offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian said after Wednesday’s practice on Haslam Field. “He’s another guy that just gets better each week.”

Though he’s excelled as a pass catching option, its Wolf’s blocking ability that sets him apart from Tennessee’s other options at tight end. Wolf enrolled early this past January and impressed coaches from day one. Tennessee’s staff took notice of his versatility and a complete skill set, making him the first true freshman in school history to open the season as the starting tight end.

Wolf will need another solid performance on Saturday against SEC East rival Florida. The Gators have won every game of the annual matchup since 2005 and Tennessee needs a signature win to be bowl eligible at the end of the season. Wolf will be a primary target in Tennessee’s offense and should provide quarterback Justin Worley with a solid option at tight end.