Josh Heupel- UT vs KU 2

New Tennessee football coach Josh Heupel speaks during a basketball game between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Kansas Jayhawks at Thompson-Boling Arena in Knoxville, Tennessee on Saturday, January 30, 2021.

Former Mississippi State wide receiver JaVonta Payton is headed to Tennessee via the transfer portal, he announced Wednesday on Twitter.

The Nashville, Tennessee native appeared in 22 games in two seasons for Mississippi State, totaling 28 catches for 372 yards and a touchdown. In 2020, he set a career-high with six catches for 122 yards in the Bulldogs 44-34 upset of LSU.

Before joining Mississippi State, Payton spent two seasons at Northwest Mississippi C.C, where he was a four-star and the top-ranked junior college wide receiver per ESPN. He totaled 840 yards and 11 touchdowns in his two years at Northwest Mississippi.

Payton will join fellow senior Velus Jones Jr. as veteran wideouts in Tennessee’s young receiving room, made even younger after Josh Palmer was selected by the Chargers in the third-round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

Payton’s addition continues a busy offseason for first-year head coach Josh Heupel. Payton is the sixth transfer to commit to the Vols, joining quarterbacks Hendon Hooker and Joe Milton, kicker Chase McGrath, defensive tackle Caleb Tremblay and linebacker Juwan Mitchell.

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