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Tennessee football: It’s transfer portal season for Vols

Tennessee football enters the second round of the transfer portal under Josh Heupel with a full head of steam. That’s good news for a program that has already shown it knows how to handle one of the newest- and probably best – methods of rebuilding a roster quickly.

The Vols were coming off of a 7-6 record last season and a surprising loss to Purdue in the Music City Bowl. Tennessee is now coming off a 10-2 season in which they were the talk of the college football nation for much of the season. That should provide some strong momentum heading into the transfer portal period, which begins on Dec. 5.

The Vols took in eight players via the transfer portal last year. The success rate was incredibly high for players that had an impact immediately and will likely continue to contribute in the near future.

Former Southern California, Bru McCoy turned into one to Tennessee football’s top receivers. Former Georgia Tech defensive back Wesley Walker played throughout the season and showed promise toward the end of the fall campaign. Offensive lineman Gerald Mincey transferred from Florida and became the Vols’ first option at left tackle.

Tight end Charlie Browder transferred from Central Florida. We’ll see where he fits in moving forward. Linebacker Jackson Hannah is in the same boat after transferring from Nebraska. Neither provided an immediate impact, but could still be positives from the 2021-2022 transfer portal.

The Vols weren’t perfect in the transfer portal over the last year. There were some missteps.

First, taking running back Lyn J-Dixon from West Virginia was just an odd move made partly necessary because of a preseason injury to Len’Neth Whitehead, who has announced he will enter the transfer portal this season. Dixon barely made it long enough at Tennessee to learn the Vols’ practice drills and was gone before the season began.

Running back Tiyon Evans mysteriously transferred last season after an injury. He went on to play extensively and could have had a strong impact on the Vols’ backfield. However, talent clearly wasn’t the issue. He chose to leave for some unknown reason. He could have been politely asked to leave. Surely, some of the other players that transferred from Tennessee over the last year were given that option. 

That could have been the case with K’Rojhn Calbert. Many thought he was slated to be Tennessee football’s next right tackle in place of Cade Mays. Instead, the Vols decided to move Darnell Wright from left tackle to right tackle. That moved worked incredibly well as the Vols had one of the better offensive lines in the nation when most thought that would be a team weakness.

The transfer portal is about to open up. Based on previous experience, the Vols should improve – especially with the momentum they have from this season.

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