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Senior DL Darel Middleton announces he will return in 2021

Taking advantage of the new rules.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 02 UAB at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A modified football season has created big life decisions for college football seniors, who otherwise would out of eligibility after this season. The NCAA has frozen eligibility for the year, meaning a current senior can return to play another senior season in 2021. A junior will remain a junior, a sophomore a sophomore, a freshman a freshman.

2020 doesn’t count, and Darel Middleton is planning on taking advantage. The veteran defensive lineman announced that he’s already decided that he will be returning to Knoxville next year. He did so in a series of tweets on Tuesday.

Middleton’s return is a big boost for Tennessee, who was set to lose six bodies at the position. If the Volunteers can get a few of those back, it will be a massive help to this front seven in 2021.

Aubrey Solomon, Matthew Butler, Ja’Quain Blakely, Latrell Bumphus and Savion Williams are other senior defensive linemen that will face the same decision. Middleton, who stands in at 6-7, 305 pounds, is one of the most impactful defensive linemen on the team, appearing in all 13 games as a junior and totaling 28 tackles.