Tennessee has been hit hard by the transfer portal this offseason, transitioning from Jeremy Pruitt to Josh Heupel. The freedom of a one-time transfer rule from the NCAA really opened the floodgates this season, and former top prospect Malachi Wideman is the latest to test the waters.
Wideman signed with Tennessee over Florida State in the class of 2020, giving Tennessee a big-bodied future weapon on the perimeter. However, Wideman didn’t make much noise as a freshman, and his sophomore spring practice fizzled due to injury.
A few weeks later, Wideman hit the transfer portal. He explained that move via Twitter this week.
“Greetings Vol family, first of all I want to thank you wholeheartedly for welcoming me to the University of Tennessee. It has been an eye opening experience to be part of such team. I have learned lifelong lessons and made lifelong relationships with people I plan to keep in my life and I would like to thank Coach Pruitt and his staff for recruiting me and seeing my potential to be not only a great athlete but a better man.
“Unfortunately, after taking a lot of things into great consideration I have decided to do what is best for me and my family. I am embarking on a future that will allow me to showcase my God-given talents on a solid platform in basketball and football. I will always have love for Tennessee and my fellow teammates, but at this time God, has compelled me to choose another path. I have entered the transfer portal.”
Wideman was a four-star prospect on both the football and basketball side, and there was some talk that he could play both sports for Tennessee. Clearly, that never happened, and Wideman hinted that Tennessee may have prevented him from doing so.
His departure hurts the receiver room, but the Volunteers still have plenty of young players with upside on the depth chart. Jalin Hyatt is expected to take a big step forward this year, while Jimmy Calloway offered a few flashes in the spring. Veterans Velus Jones Jr. and Cedric Tillman will be big contributors this season, along with Ramel Keyton.