Tennessee’s starting center will be back for another season.
According to David Ubben of The Athletic, fifth-year senior Brandon Kennedy revealed after the Vols’ thrilling 23-22 victory over Indiana in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl that he has been approved for a sixth season of eligibility by the NCAA and will return to Knoxville for the 2020 season.
Brandon Kennedy said he was officially granted a sixth year of eligibility. He found out a couple weeks ago. He’s officially back in 2020.
— David Ubben (@davidubben) January 3, 2020
Kennedy started all 13 games at center for the Vols this season, even though his status seemed in doubt for UT’s bowl game as late as earlier this week. But Kennedy ended up getting the green light, and he became the only Vol offensive lineman this season to start all 13 games at the same position.
Kennedy was able to get a sixth year of eligibility because he missed essentially the entire 2018 season, his first as a Vol. Kennedy transferred to Tennessee after spending three seasons at Alabama and graduating early. He started the Vols’ season opener against West Virginia but suffered a season-ending injury in practice the following week.
Because of that, the NCAA granted him a medical hardship, giving him another year of eligibility.
Before coming to Tennessee, Kennedy had already used his regular redshirt, sitting out his freshman season in 2015 at Alabama. Kennedy appeared in a total of 10 games for the Tide as a reserve lineman before transferring to Tennessee.
The 6-foot-3, 301-pound center was one of the Vols’ strongest offensive linemen this season. He was named the SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week after Tennessee’s victory over South Carolina, and he made every start at center for a UT offensive line that improved and progressed game after game.