Vols kicker Brent Cimaglia opts out for remainder of season

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    Vols senior kicker Brent Cimaglia has opted out for the remainder of the season, Cimaglia announced on Twitter early Monday afternoon.

    “First and foremost I want to thank Vol Nation for the support this season,” Cimaglia wrote on Twitter. “It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to opt out for the remainder of the 2020 football season.

    “It has taken some time to come to this conclusion, however my focus is to work on my mental well-being and physical health. Due to many hardships and struggles within the program, it is in my best interest to take this additional time to rehabilitate ongoing injuries. I look forward to giving my best in the future.”

    Cimaglia has been battling injury since he returned to campus in June. His injury has affected his play this season. After a breakout junior campaign, Cimaglia has missed four field goals in just nine attempts. In all of last season, Cimaglia missed four field goals in 27 attempts.

    “I just got done having a conversation with him,” Vols head coach Jeremy Pruitt said during his Monday press conference. “He’s played through difficult circumstances throughout the season. He feels like it’s better for him not to participate the remainder of the season and that it would put him in a better spot for next year.

    “His indication to me is, yeah, he’s coming back next year.”

    Starting punter Paxton Brooks will serve as Tennessee’s kicker moving forward. Walk-on sophomore Toby Wilson is another option to kick field goals.

    “When we play home games, Toby comes and he’s the backup kicker,” Pruitt said. “This past week, Paxton was not at practice all week, so Toby was there and ready. We’ll figure that out as the week goes.”

    Cimaglia was the Preseason All-SEC First Team  for many publications such as Athlon Sports, the SEC Coaches, College Football News and Phil Steele. He was also named to the 2020 Lou Groza Award Preseason Watch List.

    The accolades came following a 2019 season that was one of the greatest seasons ever by a Tennessee kicker. Cimaglia made 23-of-27 field goals, including a 51-yarder and a 53-yarder. His 85.2 percentage ranked second in the SEC and was best among kickers who attempted more than 20 field goals. He made all 35 of his extra point attempts and 9-of-11 field goal attempts from 40+.

    He finished second in the SEC with 23 field goals made and tied for seventh in the nation. His 23 made fields goals rank third in UT single-season history and were the most since Carlos Reveiz made 24 in 1985.

    Cimaglia’s performance earned him second-team All-SEC honors, as well as being named a semifinalist for the Lou Groza Award.