Another big contributor from Tennessee’s 2020 roster has found a new home. Darel Middleton, one of a few transferring defensive linemen from Tennessee, announced on Wednesday that he would be joining West Virginia.
After a couple of weeks of thinking and talking things over with family, friends, and mentors that love me and will always be in my corner. I’m finally getting out my own way & just putting my future in god hands & going 1k MPH with my head held high. #KeepGoing #TrustTheClimb pic.twitter.com/I8KVtm0VZ1— Darel E. Middleton (@Darel__) July 22, 2021
Middleton made six starts for Tennessee last season, appearing in nine games. He made six starts for the Volunteers back in 2019, emerging as one of the better players up front in his first year with the program. Middleton signed with Tennessee after spending two seasons at East Mississippi Community College.
The 6-7, 305 pound defensive tackle is a Knoxville native, attending Powell and Oak Ridge during his high school career. He finishes his time at Tennessee with 43 total tackles, two sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss.
Tennessee has reworked its defensive line room since the arrival of new defensive line coach Rodney Garner. Deandre Johnson, Greg Emerson, Isaac Washington, John Mincey and Savion Williams each have left Tennessee this offseason. The Vols have added Da’Jon Terry from Kansas and Caleb Tremblay from USC to boost depth, after Josh Heupel singled out defensive line as a need following the spring.
The Tennessee defense will very much be a work in progress across the board in 2021 as they replace so many key players and transition to a new scheme, led by Tim Banks.