Tennessee Linebacker Enters Transfer Portal

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    Tennessee sophomore linebacker Aaron Willis is officially in the transfer portal, according to a post on his Twitter account on Friday.

    “I have decided to enter my name in the transfer portal,” Willis said in the Twitter post. “3 years of eligibility left.”

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    Willis originally committed to Jeremy Pruitt’s staff at Tennessee in March of 2020. The consensus four-star linebacker in the class of 2021 played the first three years of his high school career at St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland before transferring to Life Christian Academy in Virginia for his senior year.

    Willis would then go on to sign with Tennessee in December, and even though the coaching staff change did happen around that time, Willis still went ahead and enrolled at the University of Tennessee in January of 2021.

    According to UT Athletics, in his first season with Tennessee, the freshman linebacker did see some game action in all of Tennessee’s contests except for Bowling Green, Pittsburgh, Florida, and Missouri. However, despite playing eight games this season for the Vols, Willis only recorded one tackle, which came against South Alabama.

    Just a few months after enrolling at Tennessee, Willis was suspended in March of 2021 for an incident that occurred with three other football players at Tennessee’s Stokely Hall residence building. Due to the suspension, Willis did not participate in spring camp with the Vols in 2021 but did return for summer workouts.

    Aaron Beasley, Jeremy Banks, and a returning Juwan Mitchell will likely carry the bulk of Tennessee’s linebacker responsibilities throughout the year. However, even though he wasn’t necessarily projected as a starter, Willis was at least expected to compete for a spot on the two-deep lineup and contribute.

    Willis marks the fourth Tennessee player to hit the transfer portal in the last week. Tennessee linebacker Eunique Valentine entered the transfer portal last Saturday, followed by Tennessee offensive lineman James Robinson on Sunday. Then, on Wednesday, Tennessee tight end Julian Nixon made the announcement that he would also be heading into the transfer portal.

    The reason for the last-minute departures into the portal is because of the deadline coming up this Sunday, May. 1. For players participating in fall or winter sports in 2022, that want to still retain immediate eligibility, that player must enter their name into the portal before this Sunday. That is the reason why many of the Tennessee players are jumping in at the last moment.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.