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Handful of Volunteers announce 2023 plans

Some announcements/confirmations.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 05 Tennessee at Georgia Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Tennessee arrived in Miami for the Orange Bowl on Christmas night, and they’ve continued their prep for Clemson on site. On Tuesday morning, a handful of players met with the media and several had newsworthy comments regarding their 2023 plans.

Here’s a quick rundown.

Tyler Baron is undecided on a return to Tennessee.

The former four-star defensive end is weighing his options ahead of the Orange Bowl. Baron, who is finishing up his junior year, could opt to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. That’s a bit of a surprise to me, considering Baron’s lack of production. With a game left to play, Baron is credited with 18 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks and six quarterback hurries.

You may remember Baron oddly entering the transfer portal last season, briefly flirting with Kentucky. The Knoxville native quickly withdrew his name, however. Now the 6-5, 260 pounder has an NFL decision to make.

Aaron Beasley confirms he will return in 2023.

As expected, linebacker Aaron Beasley will be back in Knoxville next season. Beasley is one of the biggest surprises on the roster, transforming into a really good player in the middle of the Tennessee defense. The Volunteers will lose Jeremy Banks, while Juwan Mitchell has yet to announce his plans.

Tennessee has added a linebacker from the portal, grabbing Keenan Pili from BYU. So that’s at least two veterans to start your depth chart with.

Omari Thomas confirms he will return in 2023.

After a really solid season in the Tennessee front, Omari Thomas will be back for another year with the Volunteers. The junior defensive tackle could have left for the NFL Draft, but he now has a chance to boost his draft stock with another year of good tape. Thomas will return as one of the key leaders for this defense next season.