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Tennessee Outfielder Announces He’s Returning For Senior Season

Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Sometimes the best gets are the ones you already have.

Tennessee center fielder Hunter Ensley is returning to Knoxville for his redshirt senior season, he announced on his X (Twitter) on Tuesday morning.

“I’m a Tennessee guy. I grew up watching this program,” Ensley said in the video. “Really just grateful to be apart of it. … Vol Nation. Let’s run it back.”

A two-year starter for Tennessee at centerfield, Ensley was a major piece of the Vols’ 2024 National Championship team. Ensley is a stout defensive center fielder as he’s shown consistently over the last two years especially in the College World Series when he made a spectacular catch running full speed into the centerfield wall.

After hitting .280 with seven home runs and 31 RBIs during the 2023 season, Ensley took a step forward in his redshirt junior season, hitting .296 with 12 home runs, 15 doubles and 48 RBIs. While Ensley turned in an effective season offensively, he struggled at the plate for a large part of the season.

Ensley was hitting .238 entering the final game of the Florida series in early May. The right-handed hitter had a big series finale against Florida and it sparked a tremendous finish to the season. Ensley hit six of his 12 home runs, eight of his 15 doubles and 27 of his 48 RBIs on the season from that game on.

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Ensley announced his intentions to return to Tennessee less than a week before the MLB Draft. The veteran outfielder was a potential day three draft pick but decided to go ahead and make his intentions clear before the 20-round draft.

A Huntingdon, Tennessee native, Ensley has been the heart-and-soul of the Vols’ program over the last two seasons. The 6-foot-1, 196-pound outfielder was one of Tennessee’s top leaders last season both with the way he plays on the field and the way he carries himself off the field.

With Tennessee losing a number of its veteran leaders from last season’s team— including Blake Burke, Drew Beam and Christian Moore— Ensley returning for one more season is extremely significant for the Vols’ veteran leadership entering the offseason.

Returning Ensley gives Tennessee a rock in the middle of its outfield entering the 2025 season. The Vols also return fringe contributors Reese Chapman and Dalton Bargo from last season’s team. The duo largely alternated as Tennessee’s starting designated hitters in the second half of the season. Chapman is a true right fielder while Bargo is a versatile player who’s capable of playing either corner outfield spot.

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