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Josh Heupel 'hopeful' to have Cedric Tillman, others play for Tennessee football vs. Florida

The Knoxville News-Sentinel logo The Knoxville News-Sentinel 9/22/2022 Mike Wilson, Knoxville News Sentinel
Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) gets the catch over Akron cornerback Jalen Hooks (29) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 17, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. Tillman left the game after this play with a lower body injury. © Saul Young/News Sentinel Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman (4) gets the catch over Akron cornerback Jalen Hooks (29) during an NCAA college football game on Saturday, September 17, 2022 in Knoxville, Tenn. Tillman left the game after this play with a lower body injury.

Josh Heupel didn't provide a firm update Thursday regarding Cedric Tillman's status against Florida.

The Tennessee football coach remains hopeful to have the senior wide receiver, who was injured against Akron on Sept. 17, when the Vols host the Gators.

“All those guys that were nicked up last week, those guys, we are going to find out in the next couple days where they are at and their availability for the game," Heupel said. "Hopeful with all of them.”

No. 12 Tennessee (3-0) hosts No. 22 Florida (2-1, 0-1 SEC) on Saturday (3:30 p.m. ET, CBS).

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Tillman left midway through the second quarter with a lower-body injury after making a reception on a high throw from Hendon Hooker. He was down on the field after being tackled awkwardly, then walked off. Tillman has 17 receptions for 246 yards and a touchdown through three games.

Jalin Hyatt is Tennessee's leading receiver this season. The junior has 18 receptions for 267 yards and a career-high three touchdowns. He had two touchdowns and 166 yards on five catches in UT's 63-6 win against Akron.

Bru McCoy, a USC transfer, has started opposite Tillman on the outside. He has eight catches for 109 yards and a touchdown. Senior Ramel Keyton and junior Jimmy Holliday are listed as Tillman's backups on Tennessee's depth chart. Sophomore Walker Merrill also is an outside receiver option.

The Vols will be without sophomore Jimmy Calloway for the first half against Florida due to a suspension at Heupel's discretion. Calloway was ejected against Akron after punching a Zips player. It was an automatic ejection due to two unsportsmanlike penalties.

Running back Jabari Small also was injured against Akron. Running backs coach Jerry Mack indicated Tuesday that the junior went through the entire practice.

Small was injured on the second play of the game with an apparent upper-body injury. He came off the field holding his right arm. Small ran the ball on each of the first two plays, gaining 14 yards. The Memphis native has rushed 25 times for 94 yards and three touchdowns this season. He has started all three games.

Heupel said after after the Akron game that he was optimistic UT will have cornerbacks Warren Burrell and Dee Williams against the Gators after neither played against the Zips. Burrell started the first two games before missing the Akron game. Williams, a junior-college transfer in the 2022 recruiting class, has yet to make his UT debut.

Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at michael.wilson@knoxnews.com and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. 

This article originally appeared on Knoxville News Sentinel: Josh Heupel 'hopeful' to have Cedric Tillman, others play for Tennessee football vs. Florida

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