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Vols linebacker transferring to ACC school

Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics

Former Tennessee linebacker Deandre Johnson announced on Saturday evening his intentions to transfer to Miami. It was reported on Dec. 29 that Johnson had entered the transfer portal.

“As I reflect on my time at Tennessee, I am grateful for experiences that have helped me grow,” Johnson said in a statement he released on Twitter. “I want to thank Coach Pruitt and the entire staff for pushing me to develop as a player and as a man.

“To my teammates, the memories we share will last a lifetime. Thank you all for the support and motivation these past four years. I also want to thank the academic team for pushing me to earn my college degree.

“With that being said, I have decided to graduate transfer to the University of Miami.”

Johnson was UT’s leading pass rusher this season following the departure of Kivon Bennett, who was dismissed from the team following an arrest in November. Johnson finished the year with 6.0 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks. He had the ninth-most sacks in the SEC after earning SEC defensive lineman of the week awards following his performance against South Carolina in the season-opener in which he set career-highs in tackles (6), tackles for loss (2.5), and sacks (2.5) while also forcing a fumble.

As a junior in 2019, Johnson appeared in all 13 games with two starts at outside linebacker. He finished with 13 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks , four quarterback hurries and one forced fumbles.

Johnson played in all 12 games as a sophomore in 2018 and made one start as a sophomore. He ended the season with 13 tackles, three tackles for loss and two sacks. Johnson earned his first-career start and recorded two tackles vs. No. 1 Alabama, as well as a career-high four tackles, including his first sack of the season in an upset win over No. 21 Auburn.

The Miami, Florida native signed with the Vols in the class of 2017. Johnson was a three-star recruit out of Miami Southridge High School and helped lead the Spartans to the 2016-17 8A State Championship with a 12-2 record. He graduated high school early to enroll at Tennessee in January.

Johnson played in six games as reserve defensive end as a true freshman during Butch Jones’ final season as head coach of the Vols in 2017. He totaled four tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack and two forced fumbles that season. Johnson ad an impressive collegiate debut against Indiana State in the home-opener that season, tallying three tackles, including two stops for a loss, a 10-yard sack and two forced fumbles.

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