In a year full of uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the NCAA provided some relief by granting an additional year of eligibility for college football players. Several Tennessee football seniors are now faced with the decision of whether to return for the 2024 season or move on to the next phase of their lives. This decision will not only shape their future but also impact the team’s composition and performance in the upcoming season.
The transfer portal window opens on December 4, giving players just a few weeks to make up their minds. Coach Josh Heupel understands the significance of this decision and believes that players should take their time to make the right choice for themselves and their families. Rushing or pressuring them into a decision could result in regrets later on.
Among the seniors who have the option to return in 2024, the offensive line stands out as a key group. Although most starters have the eligibility to return, it is uncertain whether all of them will choose to do so. Factors such as injuries, draft evaluations, and personal goals will shape their decisions. The offensive line will be a priority for UT in the transfer portal, whether they need to fill a few spots or completely overhaul the unit.
Another position that requires careful consideration is the running back position. Jabari Small, a seasoned player with impressive statistics, could potentially return for a fifth season. His experience and talent would be valuable alongside other running backs, especially if junior Jaylen Wright decides to leave early for the 2024 NFL Draft.
Wide receiver Bru McCoy’s future is uncertain due to a serious ankle injury that ended his season. Although there is a possibility of his return, UT must prepare for a big hole at the wide receiver position. The team will need to be active in the transfer portal to secure a reliable replacement.
On the defensive side, the line could remain mostly intact if senior defensive tackles Omari Thomas and Elijah Simmons decide to utilize their extra year of eligibility. Their presence would be crucial for maintaining the team’s impressive rankings in tackle-for-loss and sacks.
The ultimate decision lies in the hands of these Tennessee football seniors. They must weigh their options carefully, considering their career aspirations, personal circumstances, and the potential impact they can make on the team. The 2024 season holds promises and challenges alike, and their choices will shape the future of Tennessee football.
1. How long do Tennessee football players have to decide if they want to return for the 2024 season?
The transfer portal window opens on December 4, giving players a 30-day window to make their decision.
2. What positions are particularly important for Tennessee to fill in the transfer portal?
The offensive line and wide receiver positions are areas of concern that may require attention from UT in the transfer portal.
3. Which defensive linemen could potentially return for the 2024 season?
Defensive tackles Omari Thomas and Elijah Simmons have the option to return for the 2024 season due to the extra year of eligibility granted by the NCAA.