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Aaron Willis, Kaidon Salter return to team activities

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

Tennessee’s two highest-rate signatures of the 2021 class are officially back with the team. Four-star quarterback Kaidon Salter and four-star linebacker Aaron Willis have returned to team workouts, which started back on Tuesday.

The two players were a part of a group that was suspended ahead of spring practice. The group of four players were arrested on drug charges, resulting in two of the players — linebacker Martavius French and defensive lineman Isaac Washington — entering the transfer portal.

Salter and Willis stuck around, and now are able to rejoin team workouts to begin the month of June. Both were four-star prospects in the class of 2021.

The quarterback battle went on without Salter during the spring. Brian Maurer, Harrison Bailey and Hendon Hooker all gained valuable reps while Salter was sitting out. The same can be said for Willis, who missed the spring despite dire numbers at inside linebacker. Tennessee will certainly need Willis to hit the ground running this fall with an obvious lack of depth looming at middle linebacker.

Meanwhile, the quarterback battle will move on without Salter. Tennessee took Michigan transfer Joe Milton, adding to Mauer, Hooker and Bailey. Salter will get his feet wet in fall camp, while Josh Heupel and his offensive staff settle on a starter for the 2021 season.

It’s a missed opportunity for both, however, each have a chance to redeem themselves in the long term going forward.