After a one game absence, Tennessee star running back John Kelly will be available on Saturday night against Southern Miss, Butch Jones confirmed. Freshman linebacker Will Ignont will also be available.
The two were suspended against Kentucky. Both were cited for marijuana after being stopped by Knoxville police last week. Butch Jones said that they had “criteria” to meet on Monday, which they obviously did.
In Kelly’s absence, freshman Ty Chandler stole the show. He ran 22 times for 120 yards and two touchdowns in his first look as a featured back. He was one of the few bright spots for Tennessee last weekend. It’s going to be interesting to see if Chandler earned a little more playing time going forward.
On the injury front, Jones ruled out offensive linemen Marcus Tatum and Brett Kendrick — which will make the Vols super thin up front. Jones mentioned Trey Smith, Devante Brooks and Riley Locklear as possible options at tackle.
Receiver Josh Smith was also ruled out. Kicker Brent Cimaglia, linebacker Dillon Bates and tackle Drew Richmond are all questionable.
Jones also mentioned that he wouldn’t hesitate to burn true freshman quarterback Will McBride’s redshirt if Jarrett Guarantano’s helmet came off and he were to miss a play. Quinten Dormady is out for the year with his shoulder issue, so McBride is now the number two option.