Update: Preston Williams Granted Release From Tennessee

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    Reports surfaced Wednesday evening that former 5-star recruit Preston Williams is in the process of transferring away from Tennessee.

    A Tennessee team spokesman confirmed the move to RTI on Thursday, saying that Williams was granted his release from the football program on Thursday.

    Williams has seen a diminished role in Tennessee’s offense this season after beginning the year as a starting receiver. He was targeted early in the season opener against Appalachian State, and came away from that game with five catches for 45 yards that evening. But Williams dropped a would-be touchdown pass in the end zone in the first quarter, and seemed to lose some confidence at that point. He wasn’t as involved later in that game, and has made just four receptions in the five games since.

    Williams has battled some nagging injuries as well, but has also clearly been a secondary option with the emergence of Josh Malone and Jauan Jennings as the top targets at receiver in the offense this year.

    The 6-foot-4, 210-pound receiver from Lovejoy, Ga., also caught seven passes for 158 yards as a freshman in 2015. He was cleared for practice late in training camp of that season after having his test scores out of high school flagged by the NCAA. He didn’t record any more statistics after an Oct. 10 matchup with Georgia in 2015 after injuring his hamstring.

    His impending departure leaves the Vols with just eight available scholarship receivers – Malone, Jennings, Josh Smith, Tyler Byrd, Marquez Callaway, Brandon Johnson, Jeff George and Latrell Williams. With Tennessee using a more limited rotation than in years past, Byrd, Smith, Jennings and Malone are the only four who have seen substantial playing time thus far this season.