Jalin Hyatt was wildly successful as a receiver in high school, setting the school’s all-time record with 3,624 yards and 57 touchdowns. Due to being smaller at only 153 pounds at the time, he was not courted by in-state colleges like Clemson and South Carolina and originally signed with Virginia Tech but later opted for Tennessee.
Hyatt was no better than the No. 4 receiving option for his first two seasons in college, playing behind Velus Jones Jr. and Cedric Tillman while quarterback Hendon Hooker turned in his breakout season in 2021 when he transferred to Tennessee.
The second season with Hooker wasn’t quite as productive, but Jones had left for the NFL and Hyatt took over as the primary wideout. He logged 67 catches for 1,267 yards and 15 touchdowns. Hyatt exploded as a receiver, leading the SEC in receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. He was voted a unanimous All-American and won the Biletnikoff Award as the nation’s best receiver. His high point was gaining 207 yards and scoring five touchdowns in the upset win over Alabama.
Weight: 176 pounds
40 time: 4.4 seconds
After his tremendous junior season, Hyatt joined fellow Volunteer Hooker in declaring for the NFL draft where he’s expected to be a Day 2 selection.
Table: Player NCAA stats (2020-22)
- Hits top speed quickly and maintains separation
- Elite vertical route skills
- Soft and reliable hands
- Elusive and explosive in the open field
- Capable run blocker despite frame size
- Game changer that secondary must account for every play
- Takes the top off defenses and stretches the field
- Excelled as a slot receiver that avoided jams
- Route tree was limited at Tennessee
- Slim build will be challenged by press coverage
- Only one year of notable production
- Will need to transition from the spread offense to a pro style
Hyatt was unstoppable at times last year, but that was playing in a spread offense, unlike what he’ll have in the NFL. There’s no doubt that his talent will create value for his team and fantasy football. But his role will change from college where the Vols schemed to get him open by getting him free releases as the primary receiver in the slot. His slim build will be a bigger issue in the pros, and he projects to be a No. 2 receiver for his team by taking the top off the defense and giving the primary wideout more room to operate.
The rookie can still provide fantasy-relevant stats by himself, though he’s limited by being yet another wideout that needs to play in the slot. If he lands in a pass-oriented offense with a top-tier quarterback and another wideout that will draw attention, Hyatt can become an every-week factor and not just a long-ball phenomenon. His rookie season is likely to be a re-adjustment to how he played last year, fitting into a new style of offense that asks him to run a larger route tree.
Hyatt plays very fast, and speed always fares well in the NFL. Since he’s expected to be a Day 2 prospect, any team can reach him. He’ll be even more interesting if he lands with the Chargers, Vikings, Chiefs, or Seahawks, where he can step into a productive No. 2 wideout role even as a rookie.