Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt. Photo via Tennessee Athletics.
Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt – or should we say, 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt – has a big decision to make in the near future.
After three years in Knoxville, the junior wide receiver has the option to either return to Tennessee for his senior year or declare for the NFL Draft and head to the league.
During a press conference after receiving the award on Thursday night, Hyatt spoke about his mindset regarding the upcoming decision between the Orange Bowl and the NFL Draft against returning to Tennessee.
“Yeah, lot to put into consideration,” Hyatt said. “I have to talk to my family and the coaching staff, you know, we’re still 50/50 on some things. I’ll have a decision next week for everybody. But those are two things I have to weigh in, the receiving record, just playing with the team, or leaving. I’m taking into consideration, you know, with my family and coaches but we will have a decision next week.”
There’s a lot at play here. On one hand, like Hyatt mentioned, the junior receiver could come back to Tennessee with a record-breaking mindset for his senior year. Hyatt is only seven touchdowns away from the most receiving touchdowns in Tennessee football history. The 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner already set two Tennessee program records this year with single-season receiving touchdowns (15) and single-game receiving touchdowns (5).
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Hyatt has also been collecting NIL deals left and right this fall. On Dec. 6, Hyatt officially revealed a NIL deal with Hyatt Hotels to go along with Bose and more.
“I’m having discussions with our NIL partners up here, with Spyre and Volunteer Club,” Hyatt said. “We’re coming to options, just as far as what we can do next year. It’s a long process. I want to make sure I take my time just to make the right step for me and for my future and for my family’s future as well.”
There’s quite a bit of belief that Hyatt could return to Tennessee with even more NIL power as arguably the face of the team in 2023.
That being said, though, the NFL is around the corner, and Hyatt’s stock may never be higher. Hyatt will always have a Biletnikoff Award to his resume, but this could be the only year that he immediately takes that title into NFL Draft conversations. An unbelievable year has taken Hyatt from “Tennessee’s next guy in line” to Mel Kiper’s WR6 in his latest NFL Big Board rankings this week.
Just knowing how elite Hendon Hooker was at quarterback this year, this could be Hyatt’s best time possible to enter the draft.
One way or another, the decision is left with Hyatt, who is focusing on his family and coaches to help make that decision. As Hyatt said, though, we should know soon and certainly before Tennessee’s game against Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
With the undeniable performances against Alabama and LSU combined with the nation’s most receiving touchdowns (15) and by far the most receiving yards among SEC competition (1,267), Tennessee wide receiver Jalin Hyatt is the 2022 Biletnikoff Award winner.