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Tight end Austin Pope is returning to Tennessee

A big addition.

NCAA Football: Florida at Tennessee Bryan Lynn-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee tight end situation is a little less concerning tonight. Austin Pope announced that he would be returning to the Vols in 2021, withdrawing his name from the transfer portal.

Pope missed this past year after undergoing back surgery just before the season began. His absence left a big hole in the offense, particularly in the run blocking phase of the game. Tennessee was forced to figure things out on the fly at tight end, getting virtually nothing from the position for much of the season.

Pope has only caught seven passes for 85 yards in his career, but he brings plenty of value as a blocker, which he did a lot of during the 2019 season. The East Tennessee native has started a total of 14 games in his career.

Per the report from Volquest, Pope received interest from Illinois, Northwestern and Missouri in the portal.

Tennessee signed two potential tight end prospects in the 2020 class — four-star Miles Campbell and three-star Trinity Bell. They join Jacob Warren, Sean Brown and Princeton Fant on the depth chart. Assuming he’s healthy, they’ll all be chasing Pope on the depth chart.