Tyler Byrd is one of Tennessee’s most talented players… and for two years the Vols coaching staff had no idea what to do with him.
Byrd was a key recruit for the Class of 2016. From Naples (FL), he was considered one of the top ten cornerbacks in the nation by most recruiting services. But instead of working Byrd into the rotation in the secondary, Butch Jones moved him to wide receiver. As a freshman, Byrd played in every game, making 15 catches. As a sophomore, Byrd slumped to only three catches in 11 games, and saw his playing time decrease greatly.
The previous coaching staff kept Byrd at receiver despite the Vols having depth at that position and the secondary being hard hit with injuries.
This past spring, new head coach Jeremy Pruitt knew that he needed help in the secondary. Rashaan Gaulden left early for the NFL draft. Justin Martin, Emmanuel Moseley and Shaq Wiggins are gone as well. With that in mind, running back Carlin Fils-Amie was moved to cornerback for spring drills. And Byrd was moved for some of the spring as well, seeing time at cornerback and safety.
Byrd played wide receiver during the Orange & White Game, and is still listed on the Tennessee roster at that position. He’s now a junior. Time is starting to run out. For Byrd’s sake, and Tennessee’s, they need to figure out which position suits him best, and they need to figure it out now.
(You can follow Mark Nagi on Twitter @MarkNagi)
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