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Recapping A Busy Weekend For Tennessee Football Roster Movement

Photo via Staes’ X/ @HStaes13

It was a busy weekend for Tennessee football. In the last weekend before the early signing period, the Vols landed a pair of division one transfers and another junior college transfer.

While the Vols didn’t lose any players to the transfer portal of the weekend, a number of Tennessee players in the transfer portal found their new homes. Additionally, a handful of current Vols announced intentions for their football futures. So what all happened over the weekend? Let’s take a look.

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Current Vols Announce Football Futures

Omari Thomas

Tennessee defensive tackle Omari Thomas got the weekend started a little early, announcing on Thursday afternoon that he is returning to Knoxville for his super senior season.

Thomas bolsters the Vols’ defensive line as the two-year starter provided a needed piece to Rodney Garner’s defensive line. The Memphis native totaled 31 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and one sack during the 2023 season.

Jaylen Wright

Wright has played his final game in the orange-and-white, declaring for the NFL Draft and opting out of the Citrus Bowl on Friday afternoon.

The junior running back’s decision was no surprise after his stellar 2023 season. Wright became the first Tennessee player to rush for 1,000 yards since Jalen Hurd did in 2015. In his final college season, Wright rushed for 1,013 yards on an impressive 7.4 yards per carry.

Cooper Mays

Just hours after Wright announced he was entering the NFL Draft, Tennessee center Cooper Mays announced that he was returning to Knoxville for his super senior season.

A three-year starter at center for Tennessee football, Mays was an integral part of the Vols’ high end rushing attack last season. Returning the All-SEC center gives Tennessee three of its four offensive line starters back while they still await a decision from Javontez Spraggins.

Tennessee Lands New Commits

Holden Staes

Staes visited Tennessee football the previous weekend before taking trips to Washington and Georgia the next week. The Notre Dame tight end cancelled his weekend visit to Oklahoma and committed to Tennessee football on Friday night.

The rising junior is the highest rated tight end prospect in the transfer portal after catching 15 passes for 176 yards and four touchdowns last season.

Jakobe Thomas

MTSU transfer Jakobe Thomas safety was previously committed to Oregon State football before flipping his commitment to Tennessee on Saturday afternoon.

A Tullahoma, Tennessee native, Thomas recorded 71 tackles, including three TFLs, five PBUs, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a blocked kick during his sophomore season. The MTSU safety transfer has two years of eligibility remaining.

Jamal Wallace

Junior college defensive lineman Jamal Wallace made it three commits in three days for Tennessee football when he committed to the Vols on Sunday evening.

The Kansas City native committed to the Vols over Utah State, Houston and South Florida and has three years to use his final two seasons of eligibility.

Tennessee Transfers Find SEC Homes

Doneiko Slaughter

Tennessee cornerback transfer Doneiko Slaughter announced his commitment to Arkansas on Friday afternoon. Slaughter started four games at cornerback for the Vols during his senior season, all after Kamal Hadden suffered a season ending injury.

Tamarion McDonald

Safety and STAR Tamarion McDonald committed to Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon shortly after taking a visit to Oxford. The Memphis native started nearly every game the last two seasons at STAR for Tennessee.

Tyler Baron

The senior defensive end Tyler Baron followed McDonald’s lead, committing to Lane Kiffin and Ole Miss on Saturday afternoon. Baron was one of the most popular names in the transfer portal after totaling xx tackles and six sacks for the Vols last season.

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