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Tennessee linebacker Quart’e Sapp explains decision to declare for 2019 NFL Draft

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Sapp speaks.

NCAA Football: Missouri at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

One of the more curious NFL Draft decisions came from Tennessee linebacker Quart’e Sapp, who decided to forgo his senior season and head to the league. Sapp appeared in nine games in 2018, credited with 29 total tackles on the season.

The former four-star recruit broke out in 2017 as a sophomore, racking up 42 tackles in 11 games. He bounced in and out of the lineup in 2018 as Jeremy Pruitt attempted to find the right combination in the middle of the Tennessee defense.

Surprisingly, Sapp decided to head to the NFL after just one year in the new system. Today, he told Music City Miracles’ Justin Melo why.

I grew up in a single parent home. My mom and I sat down and talked about it for a long time. I always promised her that I would be the first male in my family to graduate from college. I made that promise to her before I even stepped foot on campus at Tennessee. The majority of us collegiate athletes go to school year round and I had the opportunity to graduate early. I graduated back in December. We sat down and discussed my options. I kept my promise to her. I graduated. That was always my number one goal.

Now that I’ve achieved that, I get to focus on my next goal, which is playing football at the next level.

It’s interesting, considering Sapp’s exit during the Florida game. If you’ll remember, Pruitt told him to leave the sidelines during the second half of Tennessee’s loss to the Gators. However, that situation was quickly squashed the following week.

What’s Sapp’s take on Pruitt now that he has left the program? He told Melo that Tennessee is in good hands.

Having been around (Pruitt) for a couple of months, I learned a lot from him in a short amount of time. He taught me things both as a football player and as a man. He’s installing a culture that’s going to win. They’re gonna be a winning program in the next couple of years. This upcoming fall is obviously huge for them. They just picked up a new offensive coordinator as well. Good changes are happening there.

Sapp and defensive end Kyle Phillips are probably Tennessee’s only chance at getting a player selected in the 2019 NFL Draft. That’s a trend that should change next year as Jauan Jennings, Marquez Callaway, Emmit Gooden should be legitimate mid-round prospects.

Check out the full post on MCM for more information on Sapp.