WR Cedric Tillman set to leave Tennessee, enter NFL draft

Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman, who had a promising start to the season before being limited by injury, declared his intention to enter the 2023 NFL draft Monday on social media.

He will not play for Tennessee against Clemson in the Discover Orange Bowl on Dec. 30.

Tillman had 230 receiving yards and a touchdown on 15 receptions in Tennessee's first two games but suffered an ankle injury the following week against Akron.

He missed four games and underwent "tightrope" surgery on his left ankle in late September. Tillman returned Oct. 29 against Kentucky, and he had nine receptions for 81 yards and two touchdowns in Tennessee's Nov. 19 loss at South Carolina.

ESPN rates Tillman as the No. 36 overall prospect for the draft.

"Though I battled through injury this season, I am grateful I returned for my 2022 senior year, and now I turn my attention to the next level," Tillman wrote on Twitter.

He thanked Tennessee coach Josh Heupel for helping him take his game "to the next level" during the past two seasons. In 2021, Tillman had 64 receptions for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns, becoming Tennessee's first 1,000-yard receiver since Justin Hunter in 2012.

Tillman, the son of the former Alcorn State and NFL wide receiver by the same name, finished his Vols career with 109 receptions for 1,622 yards and 17 touchdowns.