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Tennessee Football: Is Bru McCoy returning because of Nico Iamaleava?

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Timing can tell a lot of stories. Tennessee Football wide receiver Bru McCoy revealed that he is planning to return for the Vols’ 2024 season, but the timing of his decision actually reveals a lot more than just whether or not he’s coming back.

McCoy, who suffered a season-ending injury in UT’s fifth game against the South Carolina Gamecocks this past year, has 69 catches for 884 yards and five touchdowns in 17 games. He announced his decision to return to Rocky Top on Twitter.

This announcement comes a day after freshman quarterback Nico Iamaleava made his debut for Tennessee Football as the Vols beat the Iowa Hawkeyes 35-0 in the Citrus Bowl. It also comes less than a week after Iamaleava said he was trying to recruit McCoy to return.

Given who the Vols are bringing in at receiver, you had to question if they were planning for McCoy to go to the NFL. Tulane Green Wave transfer wide receiver Chris Brazzell II, five-star Mike Matthews and four-star Braylon Staley are all expected to be factors for UT.

However, those guys combined with Kaleb Webb, Dont’e Thornton, Chas Nimrod and Squirrel White give Iamaleava an arsenal of weapons for next year. That didn’t stop McCoy, who when fully healthy should be the best of all of them, from returning.

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The only explanation is that Iamaleava’s recruitment worked. McCoy must have listened to his pitch and seen the way he played. Now, don’t get me wrong, the NIL money likely had to be right, but there had to be the Iamaleava factor as well.

If you don’t believe that, consider the fact that Pete Nakos of ON3 reported earlier in the day Tennessee Football was no longer interested in Texas A&M Aggies transfer wide receiver Evan Stewart. The Vols were a favorite to land him just last year.

To be fair, Stewart is a slot receiver while McCoy is a wideout, but it’s weird that they made the decision the same day. This suggests McCoy truly didn’t make his decision until today, and given its proximity in time to news stories surrounding Iamaleava, he has to be the reason.

What is clear no matter what is the fact that Josh Heupel and Tennessee Football now have a plethora of weapons with a quarterback perfectly fit to run that system. The offense should be primed to break numerous records in 2024, and McCoy could be at the center of it if he returns fully healthy.

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