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Todd Kelly Jr. not ready to play yet, but could return soon

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Sounds like he’s getting close.

Ohio v Tennessee Photo by Michael Chang/Getty Images

Todd Kelly Jr. hasn’t really made an impact on the football field since 2016. His 2017 season was derailed by a knee injury which ended up sidelining him for all but two games. With a new staff in place, Kelly is looking to make an impact in his final season of college football. According to Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt, that won’t happen this week against UTEP.

“I don’t think Todd’s ready to play this week,” Pruitt said. “He’s worked really hard to overcome the injury he sustained last year. And with that, structurally, his knee is fine. But when you stay off from running and competing and practicing for as long as Todd has, it takes awhile for his body — the muscles and everything to get back.”

Kelly was able to begin practice during fall camp, but the staff is taking it slow with him as they have other players. Pruitt did admit that Kelly has suffered some setbacks along the way.

Considering the inexperience that currently resides in Tennessee’s secondary, adding Kelly back even as a rotational piece could help ease the transition a bit. Tennessee started freshman safety Trevon Flowers against West Virginia and has rotated in sophomore Theo Jackson.

Getting a guy like Kelly back who has seen a little bit of everything might just give a boost to the defense. Hopefully for the Vols that boost comes before the horrific Florida-Georgia-Auburn-Alabama stretch.