Tennessee defensive back declares for 2021 NFL Draft

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    Photo by Tennessee Athletics

    Tennessee junior defensive back Bryce Thompson has declared for the 2021 NFL Draft, Thompson announced on Instagram early Tuesday morning. He will forgo his senior season on Rocky Top.

    “I have decided to forgo my senior year and declare for the NFL 2021 draft,” Thompson wrote. “Words can’t describe how honored I am to fulfill my lifelong dream, and I am ready for that challenge.

    “I will forever be a Volunteer and am honored to have been a part of this team. I love you Vol Nation and can’t thank you enough for what you guys have done for me and my family.”

    Thompson only allowed one touchdown as a junior this past season. The first player to wear No. 0 in Tennessee football history made 36 tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, forced a fumble, tallied a fumble recovery and picked off two passes.

    “First – I would like to thank God for all he has done for me during my football career,” Thompson wrote. “Second, I would like to thank Coach Pruitt and Coach Ansley, the entire coaching staff, the training and equipment staff for giving me the opportunity to display my passions on the field and giving me a place I can call home.

    “To my teammates, thank you for a brotherhood and bond that can never be broken. So many great memories with you guys and love you all from the bottom of my heart.”

    Thompson started all 10 games he appeared in as a sophomore last season after sitting out the first three games of the season. He proved to be UT’s top cornerback as he did not allow a touchdown in 325 coverage snaps according to Pro Football Focus. Thompson tied the school record with three first-half interceptions against UAB in November and finished the year with 32 tackles, two tackles for loss, one sack, two pass breakups, three picks and one hurry.

    As a freshman in 2018, Thompson finished with the highest grade of any true freshman cornerback in the nation, according to PFF. He played in all 12 games, making 10 starts and leading Tennessee with three interceptions and seven pass breakups. His three INTs ranked tied for third in the SEC and first among league freshmen, while his 10 passes defended ranked tied for ninth and first among newcomers.

    Thompson signed with the Vols as a four-star prospect out of Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, South Carolina. The 5-foot-11 athlete was ranked as a top-300 player.