Tennessee star cornerback Kamal Hadden will be undergoing season-ending shoulder surgery, as he announced on his personal Instagram on Thursday afternoon.
“This ***t far from over,” Hadden wrote at the end of an emotional post. “I’ll be having season-ending surgery this morning. The get back starts now.”
Hadden’s announcement means that the starting cornerback will miss the final five regular season games for Tennessee, plus the bowl game that comes during postseason time. The Vols’ final five opponents include Kentucky, UConn, Missouri, Georgia, and Vanderbilt.
Kamal Hadden is Tennessee’s highest-graded player in the secondary and the second-highest player on the Vols’ defense through the first seven games this season, only trailing breakout star James Pearce Jr. (Pro Football Focus).
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The redshirt senior’s impact this year has been critical for the efficiency of Tim Banks’ defense.
Hadden elevated his game during the 2023 season and has been Tennessee’s best player in the secondary this season. The starting Tennessee cornerback racked up 19 tackles, 11 deflected passes, and three interceptions during the seven games that he played for the Vols this year.
The Michigan native collected an interception against Austin Peay, South Carolina, and Texas A&M this season.
— Ric Butler (@Ric_Butler) October 14, 2023
Kamal Hadden played the first year of his career at Independence Community College and also spent a spring semester with Auburn but wound up transferring to Tennessee in May 2021, just about five months after the arrival of head coach Josh Heupel and his staff to Rocky Top.
Hadden played in seven games during his redshirt sophomore season in 2021 and made two starts at cornerback. The Tennessee corner then worked his way into a starting position during the 2022 season where he saw action in nine games and started six. Hadden was called upon to be a big piece of Tennessee’s 2023 defense and had been playing his best football to date before the injury occurred. Hadden did leave the Alabama game for a brief time with what appeared to be a shoulder injury but did return to the game.
With this being his final year of eligibility, Hadden’s Instagram post was full of raw emotion.
I was just getting comfortable, the work was just starting to show, I was showing the world what I already knew,” Hadden wrote. “My last year, my bag year, and I strike out.. I feel like I let everybody down. The fam, gang, the team, everybody.”
Hadden did vow in the post that this would not be the end, though.
Several players from Tennessee’s past and present commented on Hadden’s post including Alontae Taylor, Doneiko Slaughter, Wesley Walker, Dee Williams, Dylan Sampson, William Wright, and more.