INDIANAPOLIS – Tennessee football is prominently represented at the 2023 NFL Combine with seven participants, and first-team All-Southeastern Conference defensive lineman Byron Young kicked off the weekend with a dazzling performance on Thursday evening at Lucas Oil Stadium.
Young’s numbers impacted the record books as he posted the second-fastest 40-yard dash time among defensive linemen with a 4.43. That mark was also the fourth-fastest time by a defensive lineman since 2003. Young, at 6-foot-2, 250 pounds, tied for the best broad jump of the day at 11 feet to go along with the second-best vertical jump at his position (38.0). His 7.11-second three-cone drill was the fourth-best of the evening.
In 2022, Young led the Vols with seven sacks to go along with 12 tackles for loss and 14 quarterback hurries. He finished with 83 tackles and 23.5 tackles for loss in his two-year career at UT, culminating with a two-sack performance vs. Clemson in the Capital One Orange Bowl. Young said Wednesday he credits much of his success to Vol defensive line coach Rodney Garner.
“When I look back, two years—it went by fast. I learned a lot. I feel like I developed really well as a player. Definitely Coach Garner—he helped me along the way, and he trusted me to be a captain on the team and a leader.”
Teammate Jeremy Banks excelled in drills with the linebackers. He had the second-best vertical jump among linebackers at 37.50 inches, and his broad jump of 10’7″ was the third-best at his position. Banks clocked a 4.53 40-yard dash, which was top eight among linebackers.
Of the 59 overall participants in the vertical jump on Thursday night, Tennessee produced two of the top four in Young (third) and Banks (fourth).
It’s a stellar start for the Volunteers as seven members from a team that won 11 games and capped the year with a victory in the Orange Bowl launch their professional careers. The seven participants are the most Tennessee has sent to an NFL Combine since they had 10 in 2018.
Punter and kickoff specialist Paxton Brooks participated in media interviews on Thursday in Indianapolis, and he will conduct his kicking and on-field workout on Friday. Quarterback Hendon Hooker and wide receivers Jalin Hyatt and Cedric Tillman are scheduled for media appearances on Friday. Hyatt and Tillman will workout on Saturday.
Meanwhile, offensive lineman Darnell Wright, whose stock continues to soar, will participate in drills and a workout with the offensive linemen on Sunday. Earlier this week, Alabama edge rusher Will Anderson called Wright the best offensive tackle he faced in college.
Tennessee’s NFL Combine representatives will be on hand for the program’s Pro Day on March 30 as they continue preparations for the NFL Draft, which begins April 27 in Kansas City.
NFL Combine Fastest 40-Yard Dash Times Among Defensive Linemen Since 2003
Amare Barno, Virginia Tech – 4.36 (2022)
Nolan Smith, Georgia – 4.39 (2023)
Montez Sweat, Mississippi State – 4.41 (2019)
Byron Young, Tennessee – 4.43 (2023)
Manny Lawson, NC State – 4.44 (2006)
Isaac Hilton, Hampton – 4.44 (2004)