Redshirt senior defensive back Baylen Buchanan recently announced that he was entering his name into the NCAA transfer portal. Buchanan thanked Tennessee fans in a letter he penned to Twitter as he said goodbye.
“As most of you know, I have decided to enter my name in the transfer portal,” Buchanan wrote in a tweet. “Although it was never my intention to leave The University of Tennessee, due to circumstances and after deep prayer, my family and I have decided it would be in my best interest as I continue to pursue my dream of playing football.
“First and foremost, I want to start off by thanking Butch Jones and the staff of 2016 for opening the door for me here at the University of Tennessee. In addition, I want to thank Jeremy Pruitt for continuing to believe in me as a player and consistently pushing and challenging me to be the best that I can in all facets. I have learned countless lessons with him about life and the game of football that I will carry with me for a lifetime. Lastly, VolNation and the people of Knoxville.. THANK YOU!! It is because of you that my time here at Tennessee was truly special. Your constant support was felt and I am forever grateful for it!
“The memories that I gained here at UT will be cherished forever. I can proudly say that I am a VOL FOR LIFE and the University of Tennessee will always have a place in my heart! 2-8 OUT!!”
— Baylen Buchanan (@TrueBuchanan) December 23, 2020
Buchanan did not play this season due to a spinal injury he continues to work back from. He has not played since he was a true junior during the 2018 season. Pruitt revealed last August that over the offseason prior to the 2019 season, doctors discovered an abnormality. In addition to not playing, Buchanan rarely practiced.
“Baylen had a couple issues during the offseason,” Pruitt said at the time. “We discovered he has a kind of narrowing of the spine, so for his safety and precaution, we’re holding him out… We’ve sent him to a lot of specialists across the country.”
Pruitt added at the time Buchanan “has a redshirt” to use if he wasn’t cleared to play in 2019. Buchanan took that redshirt and was set to be a fifth-year senior for the Vols this fall.
“One thing you gotta figure out is, is this something that he’s had the whole time he’s played, or is this something that kinda has just happened right now?” Pruitt added a year ago. “But to be precautionary, we’ve held him out, and we’re going to continue to do that because his safety is our first priority.”
The 5-foot-11, 196-pound defensive back started all 12 games for the Vols in 2018 and seemed in line to be a contributor at least at nickelback if not also as a backup at one of the outside corner positions in 2019.
In 2018, Buchanan totaled 49 tackles, three tackles for loss, four passes defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in 12 starts. Buchanan played extensively as a freshman in 2016, but he only appeared in six games as a sophomore in 2017.
In 31 career games, Buchanan has totaled 73 tackles, three tackles for loss, five passes defended, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery. He’s made 13 starts in his 31 appearances.
Buchanan signed out of high school as a three-star prospect from Peachtree Ridge High School in Lawrenceville, Georgia where he played with former Vol safety Nigel Warrior and current Tennessee wide receiver Deangelo Gibbs. Buchanan’s father, Ray, starred at Louisville and played in the NFL with the Indianapolis Colts, Atlanta Falcons and Oakland Raiders, earning All-Pro honors twice in 1994 and 1998.