Tennessee is going to get a big shot in the arm defensively this weekend. Byron Young, part of the 2021 signing class, will be eligible to play on Saturday against Tennessee Tech. Josh Heupel confirmed the news on Monday.
Big news for the #Vols: Jr DE Byron Young is available to play now.— Wes Rucker (@wesrucker247) September 13, 2021
Not sure that game last week is a loss with him on the field. Really good player.
Young was deemed ineligible by the NCAA to start the season, thanks to a two-game appearance for a prep school in 2017. The school folded later in the year, but the NCAA ruled that Young had to give back those two game to start this season.
A former manager of a Dollar General store, Young tried out for the Georgia Military Academy and made the team. He turned enough heads during his time there, despite losing his 2020 season to COVID. Young was a late commitment during the early signing period for Jeremy Pruitt, and decided to stick with the new staff, filling a big need on the edge.
Young lit up spring ball, generating a ton of buzz as perhaps the team’s best pass rusher. He backed that up in fall camp, but has been unable to play in the first two games of the season. Tennessee certainly could have used him on Saturday against Pitt, as Kenny Pickett carved the Volunteers up facing virtually no pressure after the first quarter.
There’s quite a bit of pressure to succeed on Young, who will be an obvious candidate to rush the passer opposite of Tyler Baron. Tennessee has gone with Ja’Quain Blakely in his place, who has been an interior player for the duration of his career.
The Volunteers add a ton of speed and burst here, and Young will get a chance to warm up against the Golden Eagles, ahead of a trip to The Swamp.