Another piece of the offseason puzzle came together this morning, as right tackle Darnell Wright made his NFL decision. Wright will indeed turn pro after accepting his invite to play in the Reese’s Senior Bowl.
Wright had one more season of eligibility remaining, thanks to the COVID year rule. However, he’s opted to move on to the NFL, where he will more than likely end up as a day two selection.
Officially Accepted! Darnell Wright @darnell_5232 from @Vol_Football is headed to the 2023 Senior Bowl #GBO #VFL #TheDraftStartsInMOBILE™️@JimNagy_SB @PaniniAmerica #RatedRookie pic.twitter.com/CPEk9ixuXq— Reese's Senior Bowl (@seniorbowl) December 12, 2022
Wright was a five-star prospect coming out of high school and has been a mainstay on Tennessee’s offensive line since his freshman year. He spent a year at left tackle during the 2021 season before kicking back over to the right side for 2022. In total, Wright played in 46 games and started 41 of them.
He’s currently on an 18 game streak without surrendering a single sack. The 6-6, 335 pound tackle was named the SEC offensive lineman of the week twice this season following his performances against Alabama and Kentucky.
Now, will he play in the Orange Bowl against Clemson? Opt outs have become increasing popular as guys turn their attention to draft prep and would rather not run any risk of getting hurt. Tennessee has a few guys that might choose to do that — Jalin Hyatt, Cedric Tillman and now also Wright.
For 2023, Tennessee will now be replacing both Wright and a very reliable veteran in Jerome Carvin. The Volunteers should return both Gerald Mincey and Jeremiah Crawford at tackle, while a battle inside at guard will get going during spring practice.