(WIVB) — It’s tough to pinpoint when Tennessee wide receiver Cedric Tillman will be taken in the NFL Draft. No matter what happens, he is hopeful to make an impact at the next level.

Tillman broke out in 2021 as a junior, becoming one of the best playmakers in the SEC. He caught for 1,081 yards and 12 touchdowns while making a name for himself.

However, in 2022, due to a nagging high ankle sprain that required surgery, Tillman was limited to just six games in a season where the Volunteers went 11-2 and won the Orange Bowl.

Dealing with a high-ankle sprain running straight is pretty good but cutting and stuff like that get pretty difficult there were games that my ankle was swollen like an orange but the competitor in me wanted to go out there and fight for my team,” Tillman said.

In that limited time in 2022, he caught 37 passes for 411 yards and three touchdowns. It’s easy to see that when he is healthy, Tillman can be electric on offense and a big difference-maker for an offense.

“I feel like that’s the name of my career. I didn’t have it all good and easy when I first got there I had to overcome adversity so that’s nothing I’m not used to,” Tillman said.

Traditionally, there has been knocks on receivers coming out of Tennessee. That’s because the program tends to run an offense that regularly asks players to run deep routes, which limits their exposure to shorter routes that are more common in the NFL. The fact that he only had one full good season in college is a small knock as well.

However, Tillman is willing to run any route that he is asked and thinks that he is capable of doing so.

“At Tennessee we didn’t get to show that all the time so just being able to show all the teams I can run every route in the route tree,” Tillman said.

As of now, Tillman is a projected second or third round pick. However, it seems with some development, he can be a solid or even impact player at the next level, and maybe in Buffalo.

Aidan Joly joined the News 4 staff in 2022. He is a graduate of Canisius College. You can see more of his work here.

Josh Reed is an award-winning journalist who has served as News 4’s Sports Director since 2015. See more here.