According to a report from Austin Price of Volquest, Vol freshman offensive lineman Tanner Antonutti will be forced to medically retire due to a severe back injury.
Antonutti was a freshman this past season but did not see action due to multiple bulging disks in his back. As a result, the Nashville native and former Ensworth player has been forced to retire.
Moving forward, the former three-star prospect will be on an academic scholarship, and he will still be a part of the football team as a student assistant coach. Jeremy Pruitt approached Antonutti with the idea during fall camp when the freshman could only participate in shorts and a t-shirt.
“He promised that I was going to get my degree no matter what, and not only is he letting me get my degree,” Antonutti said of Pruitt to Price, “but I also get the privilege to learn under his coaching staff and continue to be a part of what I love so much. My love for Tennessee, Vol Nation, and anyone who is involved with Tennessee remains strong. I am still giving my all for Tennessee!”
As for what it means for Tennessee on the field, Antonutti is likely the third offensive linemen to have to retire from football due to injury in the past couple seasons. The other two being Trey Smith (assuming he can’t return from the blood clots in his lungs) and Jack Jones – who didn’t play this season.
According to Price, because Antonutti will remain on academic scholarship, he will not count towards the one of the 85 roster spots. That gives Tennessee a little more freedom and flexibility in their 2019 class.