Wolf, Vols Ready to Open Season Against West Viriginia on Saturday

(UT Athletics Photo)
Staff Writer

Eli Wolf has bulked up and worked hard to be a part of the Tennessee football team's plans for the 2018 season. Now he'll get to show how much that work has paid off in front of a national television audience on Saturday afternoon.

Wolf, a 6-4, 236-pound redshirt junior tight end and a Minster High School grad, is named on the two-deep of the Volunteers as they enter Saturday’s season opener against the West Virginia Mountaineers in the Belk College Kickoff game in Charlotte.

“It’s exciting,” Wolf said to the Knoxville News Sentinel before the opener. “It’s a good challenge, and it’s a good way to tell-tale of how we’ve done this offseason.”

"West Virginia has a very explosive offensive and obviously we always want the ball in our hands,” Wolf said.

“We're obviously strapping down hard with it being game week and trying to get to know the ins and outs of their scheme defensively, so we can play at our best,” Wolf added.

Tennessee’s quarterback competition makes for some uncertainty on who he’ll be catching passes from, but Wolf is confident in both Jarrett Guarantano and Keller Chryst.

"The starter doesn't matter to me,” Wolf said. “I'm just going to play my style of football and whoever it is, is going to be great for us. We have a lot of confidence in those guys."

"From all our quarterbacks, I've seen them working hard and getting coached hard and taking that coaching to the field,” Wolf said. “I think they're going to be ready when their numbers are called."

Wolf, who put on muscle this offseason to bulk up for the rigors of playing the Southeastern Conference, is expected to be a big contributor in Tennessee’s offense in Jeremy Pruitt’s first season as head coach.

Pruitt is seeking tight ends who do more than just catch passes.

“I’m talking tight ends that can block,” Pruitt said recently. “Not line up there and run pass patterns. If we’re going to run pass patterns, I’d rather put wide receivers out there.”

Wolf, who went from a walk-on to a full scholarship player, has worked his way into the plans of a Tennessee team looking to improve on a 4-8 season and an 0-8 season in SEC play.

The game will be televised by CBS, with Brad Nessler, Gary Danielson and Jamie Erdahl doing the broadcast from Bank of America Stadium at 3:30 p.m. If you can’t watch the game, catch the Volunteer radio feed with play-by-pay announcer Bob Kesling, Tim Priest and Brent Hubbs on UTSports.com or via sattelite radio on Westwood One with announcers Ryan Radke and Derek Rackley on Sirius XM channel 201.