54 yards.

That number represents the amount of total receiving yards boasted by UT's projected starters at the wide receiver position this fall.

But after losing Justin Hunter, Cordarelle Patterson and Zach Rogers – the team's top three statistical leaders at the position – the Vols and first-year wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni knew the learning curve would be steep for his group of newcomers.

The challenge now becomes turning potential into consistency.

"We're still not seeing the consistency we would like to see out of this group, but they will get there," Azzanni said. "Getting all this experience is huge for down the road. I think the future is bright, and it's not going to happen overnight. They're going to take their lumps."

Sophomore Alton "Pig" Howard, freshman Marquez North and freshmen Jason Croom and Josh Smith were listed on the initial fall depth chart that was released Monday.

Juniors Vincent Dallas and Devrin Young round out the two-deep while senior Jacob Carter and sophomore Cody Blanc have also found their names sprinkled within the spring and fall depth charts.

The three underclassmen starters will be tasked with replacing 151 receptions, 2,352 yards and 21 touchdowns worth of production from last season.

Howard, a Orlando, Fla. native, was slowed early last season due to a lingering foot injury that required surgery during the summer of 2012.

"Last season I was probably 85 to 90 percent before Akron and I didn't have the speed that I have now," Howard said. "I've gotten a lot stronger in my lower body and my foot is 100 percent healed. I've got the offense down pat, I'm good mentally and physically and I'm just ready to go."

The diminutive 5-foot-8 185-pound slot receiver managed to come on strong in the second half of the season, notching a 16-yard touchdown catch against Missouri.

Howard followed up his late-season breakout with a strong spring and fall camp and has positioned himself as the "go-to" wide receiver on offense.

"I know who can get 20 yard plays when they need to, but they haven't been able to do that consistently yet," Azzanni said. "I think Pig is a guy that can do it. He hasn't done it consistently but I think he's on his way."

However, Howard is not the only underclassmen to receive a considerable amount of hype this fall. North also fits that mold.

A 4-star recruit in the Rivals.com rankings, the 6-foot-4, 215-pound wideout has commanded praise and respect from teammates and coaches since he stepped on the practice field this fall.

"He's a very coachable man and he's a very prideful young man," Azzanni said of the Charlotte, N.C. native. "That's why he'll be a good player here. I can't tell you when it's going to happen, when the light is going to flash on, but he's willing and I'm recruiting guys like that."

The next step, according to Azzanni, as the Vols inch towards Saturday's 6 p.m. season opener against Austin Peay, is to promote competition during the season and develop the group's youth, molding it into a strength.

"The formula for success isn't hard," Mike Bajakian, offensive coordinator, said. "It's to figure out who does something with the ball in the hands and to find a way to get them the ball."