Velus Jones announces his return to Tennessee for 2021

Tennessee Athletics photo by Andrew Ferguson / Tennessee graduate transfer receiver Velus Jones Jr. will use the extra season allowed by the NCAA to play for the Volunteers again in 2021.

Tennessee graduate transfer receiver Velus Jones Jr. has decided to use the extra year of eligibility allotted by the NCAA amid this coronavirus pandemic and will suit up for the 2021 Volunteers.

The 6-foot, 200-pounder from Saraland, Alabama, made the announcement Monday morning via Twitter.

"During a postgame media interview this season, I expressed that I felt like I was back to my high school ways having fun," Jones said. "Growing up, I was raised on SEC football, and now it is my reality. With that being said, I am excited to be returning to Tennessee for my final year."

Jones enrolled at Tennessee this past spring after spending four seasons at Southern California, which included a redshirt year in 2016. He collected 36 catches for 347 yards during his time with the Trojans but was better known as a return specialist, where he set a USC record with 81 career kickoff returns.

During the 2020 season, Jones led the Vols with 18 kickoff returns for a 22.1-yard average, but he also became a favorite target of Harrison Bailey after the true freshman became Tennessee's starting quarterback. In consecutive December games against Florida and Vanderbilt, Jones racked up 11 catches for 195 yards and three touchdowns, which followed a late November contest at Auburn in which he had a 28-yard reception and a 32-yard kickoff return.

Jones had 22 receptions overall this season for 280 yards (12.7 per catch) and the three scores.

Three other Tennessee seniors this past season - quarterback Jarrett Guarantano, receiver Brandon Johnson and outside linebacker Deandre Johnson - have decided to use the one-time NCAA ruling to play elsewhere in 2021. Deandre Johnson recently announced that he will be going back home to compete for the Miami Hurricanes.

Lewis picks Terps

Terrence Lewis, the five-star inside linebacker from Miami Central High School who committed to Tennessee on April 30 but opened up his commitment Nov. 30, revealed this past weekend a commitment to Maryland. Lewis is ranked No. 1 nationally at his position.

Contact David Paschall at or 423-757-6524.