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Star linebacker Henry To’oto’o among several Vols to enter transfer portal

As the fallout from the Tennessee recruiting scandals continues, could UK swoop in on some of the departing Volunteers? 

Florida vs Tennessee Photo by Andrew Ferguson/Collegiate Images/Getty Images

Just when it looked like things couldn’t get any worse for the Tennessee Volunteers, some of their key players decided their time on Rocky Top is up.

Having already lost their starting quarterback of much of the last four years in Jarrett Guarantano to Washington State and offensive lineman and projected 2022 first-round pick Wanya Morris to Oklahoma to the transfer portal earlier this month, the Volunteers lost four more key returners to the portal Wednesday.

Star linebacker Henry To’oto’o, fellow linebacker Quavaris Crouch, running back Eric Gray and offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson all announced Wednesday they are entering the transfer portal and plan to finish their college careers elsewhere.

Both To’oto’o and Crouch were top 100 prospects out of high school with To’oto’o establishing himself as one of the best defensive players in the SEC the past two seasons.

In 2020, To’oto’o led the Vols with 76 total tackles and in 2019 earned Freshman All-American honors.

After rushing for 539 yards as a freshman in 2019, Gray continued his success in 2020, rushing for 772 yards and four touchdowns. Johnson made five starts at left tackle for the Volunteers last season and will be a sixth-year senior wherever he lands.

While it’s unclear where these four plays may land, one has to wonder if the Kentucky Wildcats could look at To’oto’o and Crouch to fill the biggest need on their current roster: inside linebacker depth.

Jamin Davis decided to declare for the 2021 NFL Draft, and Chris Oats’ football career appears to be over due to an undisclosed medical condition, leaving rising senior DeAndre Square as the only experienced inside linebacker returning to Lexington next season.

There has been some chatter about Michigan State transfer and inside linebacker Luke Fulton landing at UK, but he never played in a game for the Spartans as a freshman last season after being after being charged with assault.

Time will tell if UK shows any interest in the departing Volunteers, but one thing is certain: things are rocky on Good Ole’ Rocky Top.