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Wharton, King Officially Off the Roster

Vic Wharton-1Rising sophomore receiver Vic Wharton and rising redshirt junior linebacker Justin King are both officially off Tennessee’s roster, confirming various reports from Thursday that the two would be transferring away from Tennessee.

King’s situation is fairly commonplace. Through three seasons at UT, he bounced around from tight end/H-back to linebacker and never carved out regular playing time – recording just two career tackles in 21 career game appearances. He likely would’ve entered 2015 fairly buried on the depth chart.

Wharton’s departure, though rumored for over a month, still comes as somewhat of a surprise in a big-picture sense. The nephew of former Tennessee basketball player Brandon Wharton, Vic Wharton was UT’s most vocal peer recruiter in the 2014 “Legacy Class,” that finished near the top of the recruiting rankings and helped Tennessee reshape its roster under Butch Jones.

Though he didn’t see consistent playing time as a true freshman in 2014, Wharton did start the final two games of the season for the Vols – catching a 49-yard touchdown on a halfback pass from Marlin Lane in Tennessee’s 45-28 TaxSlayer Bowl win over Iowa – after a rash of injuries hit the position.

He likely would’ve headed into 2015 down on the depth chart a bit with the return of players such as Josh Smith, Marquez North and Jason Croom, all of whom missed time late in the season due to injury, but Tennessee now has just eight scholarship receivers currently on campus with only one signee – Preston Williams – at the position. Potential blueshirt Vincent Perry could get a look in the slot as well.

A dozen scholarship players have left the program since the start of the 2014 season. That doesn’t included walk-on running back Justus Pickett, who saw some playing time in 2014, and currently suspended cornerback Michael Williams, who is away from the team indefinitely after rape accusations and now an indictment on that charge.

A lot of this attrition is normal – even healthy – as Butch Jones looks to flip the underwhelming roster that he inherited when he arrived in Knoxville. But the loss of players like Wharton, defensive lineman Dewayne Hendrix and running backs Derrell Scott and Treyvon Paulk will hurt depth going into the 2015 season.

Full list of the scholarship players who have left the program since the start of the 2014 season:

WR Vic Wharton
WR Ryan Jenkins
DE/LB Jaylen Miller
DL Dewayne Hendrix
TE Daniel Helm
RB Derrell Scott
CB D’Andre Payne
LB Justin King
DT Michael Sawyers (dismissed)
WR Drae Bowles
RB Treyvon Paulk (dismissed)
QB Nathan Peterman

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