Being a wide receiver in Josh Heupel’s offense is a dream come true for most. Now, with Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman on the way out, Tennessee football is looking for someone to step in immediately.
The Vols may have found their guy in Dont’e Thornton. Thornton, a transfer receiver from Oregon, is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound playmaker that can line up in the slot, or outside as well.
Thornton posted on Twitter that he would be announcing his commitment on Monday at 1 p.m. ET.
The former Duck took visits to Tennessee football, Miami, Auburn, and Arkansas.
During his trip to Knoxville, Thornton was able to talk to Joe Milton III and Heupel while even meeting the Vols’ new offensive coordinator Joey Halzle.
“(Halzle’s) message was basically, yeah, he may be the new offensive coordinator, but nothing about the offense is going to change,” Thornton told GoVols247. “That was the biggest thing. That he was going to stay the same no matter what.”
Thornton wasn’t blind to Hyatt’s historic 2022 season. The Vols’ offense was on the national stage almost every week, making their success hard to miss, and Hyatt, the Biletnikoff Award winner, was at the center of it.
Miami has also been pushing hard for Thornton’s talents. Former Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal recruited Thornton to play for him in Eugene. Now, he is recruiting him again, but this time to South Beach.
Thornton finished this past season at Oregon with 17 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown.
Although he didn’t have high production for Oregon, Thornton would fit right in with the offense Tennessee football runs under Heupel. Usually lining up in the slot, Thornton could be deadly in Heupel’s system.
Thornton ranked as the No. 57 prospect out of high school in the 2020 class.
Heupel has made it clear he wants to get a transfer portal receiver. Thornton could be that guy.