Junior wide receiver Josh Malone has consistently been one of Tennessee’s best receivers for the past three seasons and looks to become the first five-star in-state prospect signed by Butch Jones to head to the NFL.

The long pass-catcher has demonstrated some exceptional ability — whether it’s going up over smaller defenders to make acrobatic catches, or outrunning defenders to the end zone.

While he’s eligible to come back next season as a senior, this report from Rivals.com indicates Malone will instead enter the 2017 NFL Draft:

In 2016, Malone had a career year leading the Vols in catches (50), receiving yards (972), yards per catch (19.4) and receiving touchdowns (11).

His absence will be truly felt throughout the squad. With Malone’s impending departure, three of UT’s┬átop four receivers from this past year (Malone, Alvin Kamara, Jason Croom) will be gone in 2017.

As such, look for rising sophomore soon-to-be-junior Jauan Jennings to assume the role as the top receiver next year and players like Tyler Byrd, Brandon Johnson and Marquez Callaway to step up and assume larger roles in the offense for Team 121.