Tennessee’s defensive line got lighter again today. Senior defensive lineman Darel Middleton announced his intentions to transfer.
Middleton is the second defensive lineman to transfer out in the last week, joining Greg Emerson who announced his transfer via Twitter on June 26th.
By my very quick and not double-checked count via the 247 team-based portal page, Middleton makes the 37th-ish Vol to enter the transfer portal since last season ended. It’s worth noting that not all those guys were contributors, and some of them were dismissed or suspended prior to leaving.
Looking at just the defensive line, Tennessee’s lost Middleton, Emerson, Emmitt Gooden, John Mincey, Isaac Washington and Savion Williams. Washington was suspended before deciding to transfer, and Gooden was dismissed and then entered the portal.
Middleton’s journey has had plenty of twists and turns up to this point — Vol fans might remember him committing to Tennessee way back in 2013. He didn’t qualify directly out of high school in 2016 and ended up enrolling at two different Mississippi community colleges before finally making it to Knoxville in Jeremy Pruitt’s 2019 class.
New Tennessee Head Coach Josh Heupel certainly has his work cut out for him, and things didn’t get any easier today. While a good portion of these transfers are just the normal sort of attrition that happens anytime a team changes coaches, the considerable number of players hitting the door doesn’t make anybody feel better about this upcoming football season.
It’s been a busy day, so if I made any mistakes or omissions here, please feel free to call them out in the comments.