Tennessee fans critical of former walk-on junior linebacker Colton Jumper in the past owe the guy an apology following his fantastic performance in the Vols comeback win over Florida last weekend.

Here’s a sampling of the feelings toward Jumper prior to the Florida game:

Many have argued Jumper is only on the team thanks his family connections and has no place on a SEC roster, however judging by his overall performance grade assigned by Pro Football Focus, if the Vols did not have his services against the Gators, Tennessee likely would not have won the game.

While the start of the game didn’t go well for Jumper, it appeared he got beat on the goal line on Florida’s first touchdown of the game, he responded to have the best game of his career for Tennessee.

In fact, after handing out individual grades from the Florida game, Pro Football Focus graded Jumper as Tennessee’s highest graded player at 86.3. Pretty outstanding considering defensive end Derek Barnett registered a score of 83.5 – defensive coordinator Bob Shoop said Barnett ‘took over unlike any player he’d ever seen’ after the game.

After being called out by many fans for poor performance early in his career, Jumper is thriving under Shoop’s guidance. Check out this monster hit Jumper had against Florida:

While the injury to starting middle linebacker Darrin Kirkland seemed like a nightmare early on, Jumper is well on his way to proving he can hold down the position until Kirkland can return to the field.