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Tennessee football adds Oregon WR Dont’e Thornton, making the Vols’ offense extremely scary

Dont'e Thornton

A loaded wide receiver room for Tennessee football just got more loaded. The Vols landed their first transfer of the day, and he’s an exciting one. 

Dont’e Thornton announced on Monday that he would be transferring to the Vols. The former Oregon wide receiver took visits to Miami, Auburn, and Arkansas. 

UT adds Thornton with two years of eligibility left. He entered the transfer portal at the end of November and announced his decision to commit to Tennessee football on Twitter.

During his trip to Knoxville, Thornton was able to talk to Joe Milton, Josh Heupel, and even meet the Vols’ new offensive coordinator Joey Halzle.

“(Halzle’s) message was basically, yeah, he may be the new offensive coordinator, but nothing about the offense is going to change,” Thornton told GoVols247 before announcing his commitment. “That was the biggest thing. That he was going to stay the same no matter what.”

Thornton wasn’t blind to Hyatt’s historic 2022 season. The Vols’ offense was on the national stage almost every week, making their success hard to miss. 

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The 6-foot-5 and 200-pound receiver can line up both outside and in the slot. With Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman on the way out, his versatility will be huge for Tennessee football.

Heupel’s system is already favorable to slot receivers. Add in a guy the size of Thornton, and all of a sudden, the Vols’ offense is beyond scary.

Thornton finished this past season at Oregon with 17 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown. He lined up in the slot for the majority of his time as a Duck. 

Miami was also pushing hard for Thornton’s talents. Former Oregon head coach Mario Cristobal recruited Thornton to play for him in Eugene. Now, he was recruiting him again, but this time to South Beach. 

Thornton is a big pickup for Heupel and his staff who were in the market for a plug-and-play wide receiver. Thornton adds a lot of talent, and some depth to the receiver room. 

Bru McCoy is probably a lock on the outside of Tennessee in 2023, with Squirrel White and Ramel Keyton filling in the slot and opposite receiver position respectively. Now, with the addition of Thornton, Heupel has a lot of versatility with his receivers that will be fun to watch in 2023.

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