Two Tennessee football juniors, wide receiver Josh Malone and defensive end Derek Barnett, are leaving the Volunteers to enter the 2017 NFL Draft.
A day after Tennessee football dominated the Nebraska Cornhuskers 38-24 in the Music City Bowl, the Vols have lost three key juniors.
News about Alvin Kamara’s departure for the NFL Draft leaked out immediately after the bowl game.
And the very next day, news came out that Derek Barnett and Josh Malone, who were two stars of the bowl game, would declare for the draft.
John Brice of 247Sports reported that Barnett is already in the process of leaving the Vols for the NFL Draft a day after he broke Reggie White’s career record at UT for sacks.
Barnett and family members including his mother are meeting with prospective representatives and agents throughout the weekend.
The junior defensive end, shortly after breaking Reggie White’s Tennessee career sack record against Nebraska, with career sack No. 33, was signing autographs for money on Friday night along with outgoing teammates Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Alvin Kamara, who declared for the draft after the 38-24 win in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl.
Meanwhile, Woody Wommack of Rivals.com reported that Josh Malone will declare for the NFL Draft a day after catching five passes for 120 yards and a touchdown in the Music City Bowl.
Source: Tennessee WR Josh Malone is expected to enter the 2017 NFL Draft. Official announcement coming early next week. pic.twitter.com/GnlXpvt4YU
— Woody Wommack (@RivalsWoody) December 31, 2016
Barnett and Malone were key playmakers for the Vols throughout the year, just as Kamara. With their losses, Butch Jones has lots of work to do to find more weapons this offseason.
And replacing Joshua Dobbs will be tough enough.
However, he has recruited well over the past three years to the point that the Vols should still have lots of talent.
So this offseason is going to be a lot tougher for the Vols than last offseason with these four key losses.