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Jeremy Banks opts out of Orange Bowl

Tennessee will be down a linebacker.

NCAA Football: Tennessee-Martin at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

As expected, Jeremy Banks will not play in the Orange Bowl later this week (Friday, 8 p.m. ET) against Clemson. The senior linebacker officially announced his opt out on Christmas Eve, while also signalling the end of his Tennessee career. Banks will immediately begin prep for the 2023 NFL Draft.

“What a ride, but here’s to what’s new! I want to thank my family and friends for always having my back,” Banks said in his Tweet. “To my teammates, it’s an honor bro! 1Love from JB forever and always go hard while glorifying God! To the Knoxville community, I appreciate you guys for being a positive light. To the young athletes, growing up chasing this dream, among these 3 things will get you here faster than ever your education, hard work and discipline!”

It’s been a rollercoaster ride of a college career for Banks, who initially signed with Jeremy Pruitt as a running back. Banks showed some promise as a runner, but eventually ended up moving to linebacker out of necessity. With Pruitt’s help, Banks turned himself into an impact player on the defensive side of the ball.

Banks also dealt with off-field issues which resulted in him eventually being removed from the team. However, Banks was able to work his way back to rejoin. Following that, he became a starter in the middle of the Tennessee defense for two different coaching staffs. His aggression was both a positive and a negative at times for the Volunteers.

His senior season will unfortunately be remembered for that weird South Carolina week situation that resulted in him not traveling with the team to Columbia. Without Banks, Tennessee was torched for 63 points and saw their title hopes go down the drain.

Banks returned a week later to start against Vanderbilt.

He finishes his Tennessee career with 19 starts and 48 career games. Banks saw his best season as a junior in 2021, putting up 128 tackles and 5.5 sacks.

Tennessee is left with Aaron Beasley, Juwan Mitchell, Solon Page, Kalib Perry and Elijah Herring for the Clemson matchup.