Daevin Hobbs didn’t mind getting yelled at in the first Tennessee Football preseason practice on Wednesday. He knew what to expect from defensive line coach Rodney Garner when he signed with the Vols as one of their top prospects in the 2023 class.
“Gotta love it,” the freshman defensive lineman said. “I love the way he coaches. That is the way it is. Tough love. So yeah, I like it.”
The yelling was new for Hobbs since he wasn’t able to participate in spring practice because of shoulder surgery. However, that absence won’t affect the high expectations that his four-star rating demanded. Hobbs was the second highest-rated signee in the Vols’ latest class, just behind five-star quarterback Nico Iamaleava.
Hobbs graduated high school early to participate in offseason workouts, but his shoulder wasn’t as ready as he was.
“It was tough,” Hobbs said of missing spring camp, “but I took the time to study my playbook. Just watch over everything because I could do anything but workout and watch. Just watch everything.”
Hobbs worked at defensive end during the open portions of practice on Wednesday but said the Tennessee Football coaches also plan to play him at defensive tackle. Either way, Hobbs is just ready to have pads on and hit again.
“Very excited. I’m just excited to be doing stuff again, just anything to be on the field,” he said.
Hobbs was forced to learn plenty when he was sidelined with his shoulder injury. As much as anything, he learned how important it was to have the correct mentality.
“You got to be mentally tough,” Hobbs said. “Really, just always go hard, never take plays off.”
Hobbs said he’s stronger than he was before shoulder surgery and that he currently weighs 280 pounds. The 6-foot-4 athlete said his background as a basketball player should help his footwork as he makes the transition from high school to college.
“It helps me with my footwork, lateral quickness, just getting off the ball quick, that first step…I’d say a lot of it goes hand-in-hand with each other,” Hobbs said. “So I think that makes me a way better football player. If I didn’t play basketball, I don’t think I’d be as good as I was at football. I think it helped me a lot.”
So should a little reinforcement from Coach Garner.