Alabama Reportedly Blocking Grad Transfer from Coming to Vols

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    (Photo via Marvin Gentry/USA TODAY Sports)

    Tennessee has been looking to add a graduate transfer player to their offensive line unit for a while now. And it looks like they may have zeroed in on their choice, but their biggest rival within the SEC is trying to prevent them from getting him.

    According to a report from AL.com, Alabama is blocking a grad transfer offensive lineman from potentially going to either Tennessee or Auburn, his top two choices. Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Brandon Kennedy has been looking around at schools to transfer to, and the Vols and Tigers are his top two choices.

    But if the Tide have their way, he won’t be going to either.

    Kennedy is close to completing the requirements for his master’s degree at Alabama, and he’ll have two years of eligibility wherever he transfers. But his current school doesn’t want him transferring within the conference, especially to schools that will be playing the Tide on an annual basis like Tennessee and Auburn.

    Kennedy, however, is in the process of appealing.

    This isn’t the first time Alabama has attempted to block a player from transferring within the conference, though. Back in 2016, Alabama attempted to prevent defensive back Maurice Smith from going to Georgia for his final year of eligibility. But despite their efforts to stop him from transferring to Georgia, the SEC intervened and allowed Smith to go to the Bulldogs.

    SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey stated that a grad transfer should have the freedom to go wherever he chooses as long as he’s completed the requirements asked of him by the school he currently attends.

    “The standard for granting waivers has been clear and compelling evidence that there is reason for allowing an exception to SEC rules,” Sankey said back in 2016. “I found, among other contributing factors, that a student-athlete who graduates in three years and exhibits a strong commitment to his or her academic future provides compelling motivation to help them achieve their goals on and off the field.”

    Smith wound up playing in 12 games for Georgia in 2017 and totaled 50 tackles, two tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, three passes defended, two forced fumbles, and a defensive touchdown off an interception.

    Kennedy never started a game for Alabama in his three years there. He appeared in three games last season against Fresno State, Vanderbilt, and Ole Miss but served primarily as the Tide’s backup center. He suffered a season-ending foot injury early in the season and earned a medical redshirt after the season. He appeared in seven games in 2016 but never started.

    Coming out of high school, Kennedy was a four-star guard according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Those rankings had him as the No. 296 overall player and No. 19 guard in the 2015 class. Tennessee had offered him, as did Clemson and Auburn.

    Tennessee had a visit planned this weekend with JUCO offensive tackle David Swaby, but then Swaby said UT coaches called him to cancel the visit because they had someone who was “gonna go there for sure.” It’s unclear of Kennedy is that someone, but he’s the most likely candidate to fit that description.