Vols hope to make JaVonta Payton a deep threat for 60 minutes

Tennessee Athletics photo / Tennessee fifth-year senior receiver JaVonta Payton has five touchdown catches this season, with all five coming within the first 20 minutes of a game.

Tennessee fifth-year senior receiver JaVonta Payton is the unquestioned deep threat for the Volunteers entering the final month of the regular season.

It's just that deep, early threat might be a bit more accurate.

The graduate transfer from Mississippi State has amassed 12 receptions for 287 yards, which translates to a whopping 23.9 yards per catch. All five of his touchdown catches have covered at least 29 yards, with all five transpiring within the first 20 minutes of a game.

"One of the big factors that helps is me being fast," Payton said this week. "Running track growing up really helped me with my speed, and a lot of the times when I do score, it's early in the game when a lot of teams like to play man coverage.