In 2024, Tennessee could mirror the trajectory seen in Washington. A national analyst suggests that the Tennessee Volunteers might adopt a strategy akin to that of the Washington Huskies.

The Washington Huskies, though not a top-tier program and having stayed out of the national spotlight for some time, are poised to face the Michigan Wolverines in the national championship tonight.

Their incredible journey raises speculation about what the 2024 rendition of Washington might entail. Brad Crawford from 247Sports recently explored this, highlighting five teams that could potentially emulate the Huskies. Among these contenders are the Tennessee Volunteers, a program strategically building for success in the upcoming 2024 and 2025 seasons. Crawford delved into Tennessee’s prospects for 2024 in his article.

Ranked 16th nationally in the Team Talent Composite for the 2023 season, the Volunteers, led by Josh Heupel, have assembled a robust roster.

Tennessee coach Josh Heupel -'Huge relief' to avoid bowl ban - ESPN

Yet, they haven’t quite reached the elite level needed to navigate the challenging SEC schedule. The tides might turn in 2024, primarily due to one crucial factor – former five-star recruit Nico Iamaleava, now assuming the quarterback position. Iamaleava had an impressive debut in the Citrus Bowl win over Iowa, accounting for four touchdowns. Hendon Hooker, last season’s standout quarterback for Tennessee, has already hailed Iamaleava as “the chosen one” in Knoxville. This endorsement holds weight considering Hooker’s significance to the program and his substantial success during his tenure. Similar to Penix’s impact at Washington, Iamaleava possesses the kind of talent that elevates the performance of everyone around him. He is a dynamic presence, marking Heupel’s first experience with such a quarterback. His presence gives Tennessee a strong chance of breaking into the top 10 in 2024 and maintaining that position, provided he remains injury-free.

While Tennessee might not boast elite wide receiver talent around Iamaleava, the return of Bru McCoy provides the Vols with a reliable playmaker on third downs and a significant team leader.

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