Tennessee already has a couple players who have put their names into the new NCAA transfer portal. Now, they reportedly have a third player in it.
According to a report from 247Sports, linebacker Austin Smith has put his name into the NCAA transfer database. Smith just finished up his redshirt junior season in 2018 and appeared in just four games for the Vols.
The 6-foot-3, 246-pound outside linebacker appeared in games against West Virginia, ETSU, UTEP, and Vanderbilt this past season. He didn’t record any stats in any of his appearances, however.
Smith joined the Vols as part of their 2015 signing class and had some promise before injuries derailed his career. Smith appeared in all 13 games as a true freshman and recorded three tackles. He was set to take on a larger role in Tennessee’s defense in 2016, but he suffered a season-ending shoulder injury before the season even began. In 2017, Smith was slotted as one of UT’s starting outside linebackers heading into their season opener against Georgia Tech, but then he suffered a knee injury during the week of practice leading up to the game. He would be sidelined for the first five games of the 2017 season and then appeared in six of Tennessee’s final seven games.
When Smith signed on with the Vols, he was a three-star linebacker from Buford, Georgia. He played linebacker in his first season, but Tennessee’s previous coaching staff tried moving him to defensive end before he suffered his injury in 2016. He moved back to linebacker prior to the 2017 season and stayed there this past year.
A player can enter their name into the transfer portal and still return to their original school. Putting their name into the database allows them to explore their options and talk with other programs, but the university they’re currently enrolled in can still retain them if they decide not to transfer elsewhere.
In fact, Tennessee already had that happen with them this offseason. Outside linebacker Jordan Allen put his name in the transfer portal, but he ultimately decided to remain at UT and withdrew his name from the database.
Considering Smith is a four-year player, he’ll likely be a grad transfer to wherever he decides to go, and he should be able to play immediately.
Smith joins redshirt junior offensive lineman Drew Richmond and redshirt junior tight end Eli Wolf as the three Vols to put their names into the transfer portal this offseason. Tennessee has already had two players transfer off the roster as well. Cornerback Marquill Osborne and quarterback Will McBride have already left UT’s program. Linebacker Quart’e Sapp decided to forgo his final year with Tennessee and declared for the 2019 NFL Draft.