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Eric Gray, Henry To’o To’o address their decisions to enter transfer portal

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

On Wednesday, things didn’t get any easier for Tennessee. Following the firing of Jeremy Pruitt for cause, the Volunteers lost four key players to the transfer portal — including two of the most important names on the roster.

Offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson, linebacker Quavaris Crouch, running back Eric Gray and linebacker Henry To’o To’o were the latest to hit the transfer market, making it 14 players in the portal since December 1st for Tennessee.

Shortly after the news broke, To’o To’o and Gray addressed their decisions.

“THANK YOU,” To’o To’o tweeted. “This is not goodbye, at all. Being a Vol will always have a special place in my heart ! And I mean that. My brothers and I gave us your all everyday , home sweet home to me !”

247Sports reports that Alabama, Michigan and USC are already in the mix for To’o To’o, who led the Volunteers in tackles last season.

“Vol Nation. I love you guys,” Gray tweeted. “You have been unbelievably supportive. Tennessee will forever be my home. You are the best fans in the country and I just want to say THANK YOU for giving the young kid out of Memphis an opportunity to play at the next level. You are my FAMILY.”

Gray led Tennessee in rushing last season and was pretty easily the most dynamic offensive player on the roster. Replacing that production will be a tall task, especially with Ty Chandler already headed to North Carolina. Incoming JUCO back Tiyon Evans might just be the favorite to start now, while Jabari Small, Len’Neth Whitehead, Tee Hodge and Cody Brown will also factor in.

Tennessee’s roster is officially gutted in the middle of a search for an athletics director, who then will have to hire a new head football coach. The appeal of the job is likely at an all time low, with potential sanctions coming from the recruiting investigation.

Are the Vols done losing players to the portal? Probably not. Whoever takes this job will have to flip the script in a hurry and attack what’s left in the transfer portal to fill several needs on the roster.