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Pruitt: Bryce Thompson to travel, available to play against Florida

Tennessee will have one of its best players available.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at South Carolina Jeff Blake-USA TODAY Sports

After an indefinite suspension that ended up being two weeks, defensive back Bryce Thompson rejoined Tennessee at practice last week. A week later, Thompson will travel with the team and will be available to play against Florida.

Thompson was suspended after being arrested for allegedly threatening his girlfriend on campus in August.

“The guy’s not done much in several weeks,” Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt said after practice. “We’re going to play these other guys and one of these days, Bryce will be back in shape and be ready to play. But it’s going to take a little time for that to happen.”

Freshman cornerback Warren Burrell has starting in Thompson’s place, opposite of sophomore Alontae Taylor. The secondary has taken its lumps so far without Thompson in the lineup. Taylor was a part of the play against BYU that saw the Cougars get into field goal range to force overtime. Alignment issues plagued the entire defense against Georgia State, sparking perhaps the worst Tennessee loss in history.

Thompson snagged three interceptions in his first season in Knoxville, earning freshman All-American honors. The former four-star athlete was converted to cornerback after a late commitment to Tennessee. He started from day one, along with Taylor.

Those two returning with a year’s worth of experience had confidence in the secondary riding high entering the season, but Thompson’s suspension forced others into action. Now, against the Vols’ toughest opponent yet, we will at least see Thompson available to play on Saturday.

Pruitt claims that it’s going to take some time for him to be a full-time player again. We’ll see how that statement holds up on Saturday afternoon in Gainesville.