There are no regrets for Tennessee football tight end Jacob Warren.
A year ago, he was in the shoes of Cooper Mays and several other seniors who had an extra year of eligibility. Should he come back, or should he test the NFL waters? Warren chose to return, and it’s a decision he is happy to have made.
“Oh think I kind of, truthfully, put that behind me and never really looked at it and never thought about it,” Warren said on The Vol Report. “I’m happy I never really had to face those thoughts just because that would be tough. And it’d be hard just it was a hard decision to make back in January. It would be hard for me to deal with right now about thinking about the what ifs — I could be doing this, I could be doing that.
“Because end of the day, I’m here and I’m still here right now. So that’s really what I feel like I did a good job of focusing on throughout the season, regardless of how things were going for me. It’s interesting. I never really thought about it until you just brought it up. So I’m happy I never really faced that.”
There was a lot that went into the decision for Warren. He looked at who Tennessee was bringing in to the tight end room — McCallan Castles, Ethan Davis and Cody Duncan. He also thought about catching passes from Joe Milton III.
At the end of the day though, for Warren, it was about his thoughts and prayer on the topic.
“That’s was a big thing for me, just whenever those times when I thought I was leaving, I was more anxious, I was more stressed,” Warren said. “I would just kind of worry about the decision a lot more. And then, whenever there was times when I felt like staying right, like that’s kind of where I was leaning towards, I just felt free of those things. And I felt way more comfortable, way more at peace, just in life in general. And with that decision. That’s kind of a big step for me.”
For the possible returners like Mays, Warren offered the same advice that he used to make the decision. The emotions to stay or go affected Warren in his day to day life.
He hopes the possible returners feel those same emotions, and listen to them.
“I would just encourage all of them to just think about those things and be able to be super aware of how you feel about it and make the right decision,” Warren said. “Just because I came back doesn’t mean that his right decision won’t be to leave, right? So just being able to listen to yourself and trust your gut on that.”
As for Warren’s time at Tennessee, he saw the darkest moments of the program and also the highest. While the final season was below expectations the Vols had set for themselves, the body of work shows how important Warren was to Tennessee.
There are no longer questions about what to expect from Tennessee and Josh Heupel’s program.
“We came here to play ball here and for this university and have a lot of pride in wearing the T,” Warren said. “We have got to the point where people aren’t counting us out. People aren’t questioning whether we’ve got talent question and whether we’re going to play four quarters. Whatever it may be, there’s people that truly believe in this place now. And it’s great to be a part of. And I’m very proud and very happy that I was able to have my hand in it and do the things that I did to kind of get it there.”