On late Tuesday afternoon, it was reported that Tennessee redshirt sophomore punter Joe Doyle had put his name in the NCAA transfer portal. Just a couple hours after that report, Doyle confirmed it and explained his reasoning.
Doyle, who attended Farragut High School in Knoxville before joining the Vols as a walk-on, took to Twitter on Tuesday evening to detail his “difficult decision” to move on from his “dream” of being a Vol.
“It’s been an honor to be a Tennessee Volunteer and to play for this team the last three seasons,” Doyle wrote. “After a lot of consideration, as well as guidance from family, close friends, and mentors, I have decided to put my name in the Transfer Portal and explore other opportunities. This was a difficult decision, considering that I was born and raised in Knoxville. As most of you know, being a Tennessee Vol has always been a dream of mine. I want to say thank you to Vol Nation, my coaches and my teammates for your support in making this dream a reality.”
Doyle adds that he’s “looking forward to the journey ahead” and ensures that UT will “always hold a special place in my heart.”
Vol Nation, pic.twitter.com/mtUTS0VX8j
— Joe Doyle (@JoeDoyle1224) January 8, 2020
In 2018, Doyle played in all 12 of Tennessee’s games as a redshirt freshman and led the SEC in punts with 65 on the year. His 23 punts inside the 20-yard line were tied for the second-most in the conference, and he averaged 41.1 yards per punt. Doyle was voted a Freshman All-American by USA Today Sports after the end of the season, and he was named to the preseason 2019 Ray Guy Award watch list.
But the 2019 season didn’t go as planned for the redshirt sophomore.
This year, Doyle split punting duties with sophomore Paxton Brooks. Doyle started the season as UT’s primary punter, getting off 21 punts in the Vols’ first seven games. But after an ineffective showing against Alabama and inconsistent play to start the year, Brooks took over punting duties and closed out the season as the Vols’ primary punter and kick-off specialist. Brooks finished with 30 punts for an average of 42 yards per punt, with 11 of his 30 punts being downed inside the 20.
For Doyle, this season was less efficient. Only six of his 21 punts were downed inside the 20-yard line, and he averaged 41.4 yards per punt on his 21 kicks.
Doyle will likely have to sit out a season wherever he transfers to unless he transfers down to the FCS level. He could appeal for immediate playing time, but it remains to be seen if he would have a case for an appeal.