Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt spoke to the media during the weekly SEC coaches teleconference on Wednesday, and he revealed that a pair of Vols will no longer be part of the team moving forward.
Pruitt confirmed the report on Tuesday that redshirt sophomore defensive back Terrell Bailey put his name in the transfer portal and will be leaving the team. The second-year head coach also said that another third-year player is leaving the program.
According to Pruitt, junior wide receiver Jordan Murphy is no longer part of Tennessee’s team. Pruitt says both Murphy and Bailey made the decisions themselves to leave.
The 6-foot, 180-pound Murphy has come under fire this past week for comments he’s made on social media after Tennessee’s stunning loss to Georgia State on Saturday. Murphy joked several times on Twitter about the Vols’ loss to the Panthers before deleting his Twitter altogether. He made another joke on his Instagram account about Bailey entering the transfer portal on Tuesday.
Murphy played in 10 games as a sophomore last season and made one start. He flashed some potential in his appearances, ripping off a 59-yard run on a reverse against No. 11 Kentucky and showing off some deep ball potential as a receiver. He finished his sophomore campaign with 11 catches for 155 yards and a touchdown to go along with 58 rushing yards on two carries.
The Hattiesburg, Mississippi native entered fall camp expected to carve out a role as Tennessee’s fourth main option in the receiving corps. What happened instead was redshirt sophomore Jacquez Jones passed him up on the depth chart as the main backup in the slot position behind redshirt senior Jauan Jennings.
Murphy didn’t play in Saturday’s game against Georgia State, and Pruitt said on Monday that Murphy’s absence was due to an illness. Pruitt didn’t specify what the illness was, but he claimed that Murphy had lost some weight while battling the sickness but was expected to be back on the practice field on Monday.
On Tuesday, Murphy was sporting a different number at practice. Instead of his usual No. 11, he was wearing a No. 14 jersey.
With Murphy’s departure and the transfer of Maleik Gray back in August, Tennessee is now down to eight scholarship wide receivers on the roster. Only seven of those receivers can play this season, however. Georgia transfer Deangelo Gibbs is redshirting this season after his immediate eligibility waiver was denied by the NCAA.
Tennessee will take on BYU this upcoming Saturday, September 7th at 7:00 PM Eastern in Neyland Stadium.