With Princeton Fant graduating after this season, Josh Heupel hit the transfer portal to find another tight end for Tennessee football.
As he has done before, Heupel found a player to fill that immediate need. Former UC Davis tight end McCallan Castles transferred to the Vols.
Here are five things to know about Castles.
Where Castles ranks
Castles comes to Knoxville as a grad transfer. He was ranked as a three-star prospect out of high school, and he was ranked as the No. 18 tight end in the class of 2018. He attended South Tahoe High School in South Lake Tahoe, Calif.
Although Castles doesn’t have a formal transfer portal ranking, he was highly sought after once he hit the portal in late November.
Out of high school, Castles attended Cal before transferring to UC Davis. The 6-foot-5 and 240-pound tight end brings a wealth of experience to Tennessee football.
In 2021, Castles caught 27 passes for 387 yards and four touchdowns. Castles caught 30 passes for the Aggies this season, going for 347 yards and two touchdowns.
Why Tennessee football?
Castles didn’t even need to visit Knoxville before he made his decision. The SEC was too good of an opportunity to pass of for Castles.
“Playing in the SEC, you’re basically playing at the next closest step to the NFL,” he told 247Sports. “I just think it’s one of those (situations) where, if (I am) as good as they say I am, then that’s the best place to prove it to myself that I can do it and get better — because, if I’m going to go to the next level, I want to be there ready to play. I don’t want to be a developmental guy. If I’m going to be in the League, I want to be ready to go.”
Joey Halzle, who has had great success recruiting the west coast, was Castles’ main contact.
A staple in Knoxville high school football, Clark Duncan, retired from coaching in 2022. Paul Shelton took over as head coach of South Doyle High School.
Shelton was the tight ends coach at UC Davis, coaching Castles during his time as an Aggie. Now the two will be back in the same city again, but in different roles.
A position of need for Tennessee football
With Fant out of eligibility, Jacob Warren was left as the Vols’ only scholarship tight end. Incoming freshman Ethan Davis, and now Castles, add some depth to that room.
Heupel also added walk-on Cody Duncan to the tight end room. Depth is crucial, and the Vols still may seek another body.
Castles got stuck in an RPO offense at UC Davis, being used more to block than catch. Tennessee footbal will certainly be able to utilize his versatility.