KNOXVILLE — Trevor Daniel will head into the season as Tennessee’s first-team punter, but that doesn’t guarantee him much going forward, Vols coach Butch Jones said Wednesday afternoon.
Daniel, a third-year sophomore walk-on from Dickson County School in Dickson, Tenn., entered preseason camp in a three-way battle with fifth-year senior transfer Nate Renfro and highly touted freshman Tommy Townsend for the first-team spot.
Jones until Wednesday had continued to insist that the punter competition was more or less a three-way tie, with all three players impressing at times but lacking consistency. Ultimately Daniel proved to be at least a bit more reliable, according to the coach.
“I will tell you right now that Trevor Daniel will have the first punt of the year,” Jones said during a press conference inside the Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio. “So Trevor Daniel will go into the game being our starting punter. But again, that’s a position where Nate Renfro has done a very good job, Tommy Townsend has done a very good job, and both those other two individuals will travel.
“That’ll be an ongoing competition, just like it is at every single position for us, and it’s all performance-based.”
Jones said Daniel was more consistent in several areas, but Renfro and Townsend weren’t far behind, and he expects them to continue competing for the job.
“All three individuals have done a very good job,” Jones said. “We just thought at this point in time that Trevor’s been a little more consistent in terms of his hang time, his ball placement, the length of his punts, but just overall consistency, and also his specialty kicks – pooch kicking and everything that goes into that. I think he really benefitted from a full spring, as well.”
BY WES RUCKER