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Tennessee OL signee J’Marion Gooch released from LOI

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One of Tennessee’s signees on the offensive line will find a new home.

Alabama vs Tennessee Photo by /Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Tennessee has released 3-star offensive tackle signee J’Marion Gooch from his Letter of Intent, according to a report published by GoVols247 on Sunday. This comes just two days after 4-star defensive end signee Dylan Brooks received a release from his LOI as well.

Gooch was an early signee who put pen to paper all the way back in December. Former head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff pulled off a flip from Gooch, who was originally committed to Auburn earlier in the cycle. The Vols needed to fill out numbers along the line, and Gooch was a quality in-state option. He originally hails from Gallatin, Tennessee.

Here is what we had to say about him after his commitment.

He’s a mean run blocker that makes sure whoever goes up against him is totally wiped from the play. It’s encouraging to watch his motor on these types of plays. The pass blocking is a mixed bag. On one hand, he is a brick wall when it comes to opposing linemen attempting to overpower him. He just doesn’t lose those battles. Sometimes it doesn’t even require him to move his feet.

On the other hand, it looks less natural than his run blocking, and he has slow feet on more than a few plays. I don’t think it’s a matter of talent—I think it’s a matter of coaching and reps. Gooch has clips as a defensive linemen, and in those he looks quicker on his feet than you’d expect from someone who is 350 pounds. So the ability is there.

In fact, there’s a real chance that Gooch switches to defensive line in the future. He’d be a bigger project on that side of the ball but he also looks more explosive than he does on offense. The motor remains consistent as well. He reminds me of Jay Hardy from the previous cycle.

The impact of his transfer won’t be immediate for Tennessee. But it does pile on to a worrying offensive line numbers situations, where Tennessee has now lost both Gooch and former tackle commit Colby Smith from the 2021 class. Keeping William Parker and Amari McNeill in the fold is good, and so is adding JUCO option Jeremiah Crawford. But only one of those guys is a true left tackle at the next level. The Volunteers will need to be careful about how they approach the 2022 offensive line class and who they’re willing to take.

That now brings Tennessee’s 2021 class to just 18 total players. It is unknown if there’s any more transfers or LOI releases on the way.