With one key member returning and another piece on the outside, the Volunteers receiving core is feeling comfortable and confident about the upcoming season.

"It's so much more fun because you don't have to think as much," said Da'Rick Rogers, who was a first-team All-SEC selection last year.

With Justin Hunter back and junior college transfer Cordarelle Patterson now in orange and white, Rogers believes Tennessee is poised for a big year on offense.

"Not only are people looking down on us, we've got low expectations, but we have high expectations for ourselves," Rogers said. "We really want to go out there and compete against the top talent in the country as everybody knows about."

Hunter and the coaching staff believe the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Hunter is back to 100 percent for this year.

"My knee feels real good right now. I think it's 100 percent. I've been out there running with the team and everything with no pain, no tweaks or anything like that," said Hunter.

His season was cut short when he went down with an ACL injury against Florida last September. Hunter had 314 receiving yards on the year, which was still good for the third most on the team at the end of the season behind Rogers and tight end Mychal Rivera.

"He's looking better than ever," quarterback Tyler Bray said of Hunter.

In addition to Rogers and Hunter, Bray has Patterson to throw to as well. With practice starting, Vols players and coaches get to see what Patterson can do with their own eyes.

"His knowledge of the game, his speed, his uphill speed, his vertical speed is really good," Rogers said. "He is my size, he's a big receiver and he just adds to our core."

Hunter seconded Rogers' statement about Patterson.

"He's real fast, he's real big too," Hunter said. "He's not like me or Da'Rick, he's his own person. He can go out there and do things that we can't do, but at the same time, he's real good."

The Vols had the third most passing yards last season in the SEC and with more weapons than last year, the receiving core also hopes they can help the rest of the Volunteer offense become more explosive.

"It's just when you have so many weapons you have to respect every weapon so it opens up more opportunities for our entire offense," said Rogers.

The Vols will have their first opportunity to show everyone how the new receiving core can do against North Carolina State Aug. 31 in the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game.

"We think we have a really good receiving core, we know they have a really good DB core so we really want to go against them," Rogers said.