Shortly after the 2020 NFL Draft wrapped up, three of Tennessee’s undrafted players signed free agent contracts with NFL teams. One Vol, however, did not get picked up by a team.
That changed on Wednesday.
Linebacker Daniel Bituli officially signed a free agent deal with the Los Angeles Rams on Wednesday afternoon, becoming the fourth Vol to sign as an undrafted free agent. Wide receiver Marquez Callaway (New Orleans), safety Nigel Warrior (Baltimore), and tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson (Seattle) are the others.
Bituli was reportedly flagged by teams heading into the draft because of issues with his knee. The knee injury wasn’t serious, but because of the limitations of in-person meetings and examinations due to the COVID-19 outbreak, NFL teams were hesitant to draft Bituli.
Born in the Congo before moving to the US, Bituli joined the Vols in their 2016 class out of Nashville. Bituli became only the third Vol in school history to lead the team in tackles in three-straight seasons, joining linebacker A.J. Johnson as the only Vols to ever do so.
The 6-foot-3, 250-pound inside linebacker totaled 266 tackles in 44 career games, and 257 of those stops came over his final three years as a Vol.
Bituli amassed 90 tackles, three tackles for loss, an interception he returned for a touchdown, a forced fumble, and three passes defended as a sophomore. In his second year as a full-time starter in 2018, Bituli totaled 79 tackles, 6.5 TFLs, and a sack. As a senior, Bituli missed the first two games of the season due to injury, but he still managed to lead the Vols in tackles again, totaling 88 in 11 games. He also added five TFLs and three sacks to go along with a blocked punt that he recovered for a touchdown in Tennessee’s win over South Carolina.
In his senior year, Bituli was twice named the SEC Defensive Player of the Week, and he earned Second Team All-SEC honors by SEC coaches after the season.
Bituli is the sixth Vol in 2020 to get an opportunity in the NFL. Along with the three other undrafted free agents who signed deals, Tennessee had two players taken in the 2020 NFL Draft. Edge rusher Darrell Taylor was selected with the No. 48 overall pick in the second round by the Seattle Seahawks, and wide receiver Jauan Jennings was taken 217th overall in the seventh round by the San Francisco 49ers.