Pruitt Confirms Vol CB Out for Rest of Season

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    Photo by Anne Newman/RTI

    Back in the middle of fall camp, Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt revealed that senior cornerback Baylen Buchanan had been held out of practices because he had a “narrowing of the spine” that was putting his playing career in jeopardy.

    “Baylen had a couple issues during the offseason. We discovered he has a kind of narrowing of the spine, so for his safety and precaution, we’re holding him out,” Pruitt said back on August 13th. “We’ve sent him to a lot of specialists across the country. We’re just waiting and gathering information.”

    Buchanan has been held out since then, and he hasn’t appeared in a single game so far this season. The senior has been under observation by doctors, and now it’s been confirmed that his 2019 season will officially end without him playing a game.

    Pruitt met with the media on Monday during his weekly press conference and confirmed that Buchanan will not play for Tennessee the remainder of this season.

    “He’s (Buchanan) not gonna play the rest of the year,” Pruitt said. “He’ll continue to work on his rehab, and hopefully we’ll get him back soon.”

    The Vols’ second-year head coach said back in August that Buchanan has a redshirt still available, and the senior corner is open to using it for this season. If Buchanan is deemed by doctors as eligible to play sometime before the 2020 season, then he can use 2019 as a redshirt year and return to the team next season as a fifth-year senior.

    Buchanan posted on his personal Twitter account back on November 7th that an MRI revealed that he still has “some ways to go” before he can play again, but he added that he’s “working really hard to make it a possibility again.”

    The 5-foot-11, 195-pound defensive back from Lawrenceville, Georgia started all 12 games for the Vols last season and played at outside corner, nickel, and safety. He finished with 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, four passes defended, a fumble recovery, and a forced fumble.

    Pruitt added during his Monday press conference that the rest of the team is “as healthy as we’ve been” this season, and he anticipates most if not all of the Vols who have been banged up recently to be available for Saturday’s game against Missouri. That includes players like Jarrett Guarantano, Darnell Wright, Henry To’o To’o, and Bryce Thompson.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.