News broke Saturday night that Tennessee Junior Linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. sustained a non-contact knee injury during practice on Friday.
While there was no official word on how much time Kirkland would miss beyond the season opener, Jimmy Hyams is reporting that he is expected to miss up to six weeks. Kirkland will undergo more tests on Monday according to Gridiron Now.
Tennessee junior linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. suffered a knee injury Friday and is expected to miss up to 6 weeks, sources said— Jimmy Hyams (@JimmyHyams) August 27, 2017
The injury to Kirkland is a big hit to Tennessee’s defense both from a leadership and play making ability standpoint. Especially with facing an offense as difficult to stop as Georgia Tech’s triple option.
As reported yesterday, senior Colton Jumper is expected to take over for Kirkland while Sophomore Daniel Bituli and Freshman Will Ignont could also see significant playing time. Jumper, a former walk on, recorded 61 tackles in a total of seven starts in 2016 while Bituli saw action in nine games in mostly a special teams role last season.