Top tight ends Jacob Warren, Princeton Fant to return to the Vols in 2022

Tennessee Athletics photo by Andrew Ferguson / Tennessee redshirt junior tight end Jacob Warren has 18 receptions for 179 yards and three touchdowns this season.

Jacob Warren has been playing football in Knoxville for a long time.

That's not going to change.

The 6-foot-6, 246-pound tight end out of Farragut High School said Tuesday that he will be returning for a fifth-year senior season at the University of Tennessee. Warren signed with the Volunteers in 2018 and redshirted that year, and his first season under Josh Heupel easily has been his most productive.

"I'll be back next year for sure," Warren said during a lunchtime news conference. "There are a lot of areas I kind of found myself struggling with this year. I need to keep getting bigger and keep getting stronger and being able to hold my own.

"I feel like I do a decent job with my technique and stuff like that, but having a little extra weight on me would help a lot in terms of playing in the box more. I want to add some good weight this offseason."

Tennessee will be returning its 1-2 punch at tight end, with Princeton Fant announcing through social media late Tuesday afternoon that he would be returning as well. The 6-2, 240-pounder from LaVergne High in Nashville is a 2017 signee, so he will be using the NCAA's extra year of eligibility that was implemented last year due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Fant, who posted "Let's run it back" on Twitter, also is enjoying the busiest season of his Tennessee career.

"I love the fact that we're getting the ball and getting touches and showing what we can do as a tight end group," Fant said during Tuesday's news conference.

Warren has amassed 18 receptions for 179 yards (9.9 yards per catch) and three touchdowns, while Fant has 13 catches for 149 yards (11.5) and a score. Just six of Warren's 18 catches have transpired in the past seven games, but one of his more recent snags went for an 18-yard touchdown in the 45-42 win at Kentucky.

The two tight ends had their best combined game early this season against Pittsburgh, when they had nine receptions for 102 yards and a score.

"I think we both really enjoy playing alongside each other," Warren said. "I think it's unique the way we operate. We truly rotate each series. You'll see one of us out there, and then the next drive you'll see the other one."

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.