Redshirt sophomore tight end A.J. Branisel has informed team coaches that he will be leaving the Tennessee football program, according to Jimmy Hyams of WNML-FM radio in Knoxville.
Branisel played in 10 games in 2013 and caught three passes, including a touchdown against South Alabama. On Nov. 20, 2013 Branisel tore his ACL and missed the last two games of the season and was redshirted for the 2014 season.
Out of high school, Branisel was rated a 3-star prospect and hailed from South Euclid, Ohio. He originally committed to Butch Jones while Jones was the head coach at Cincinnati, but shortly after Jones was named the head coach at Tennessee, Branisel backed off his commitment to the Bearcats, received an offer from the Vols and committed early in 2013.
Branisel’s departure leaves the Vols with just three scholarship true tight ends on the roster – sophomore Ethan Wolf, redshirt senior Alex Ellis and redshirt freshman Neiko Creamer. Jakob Johnson has worked the past two practices at tight end as well after starting his career at linebacker, though Butch Jones said over the weekend that they’re trying that out on a more experimental basis.
No further details have been released regarding Branisel’s plans after Tennessee but this page will be updated if further information emerges.