Darrin Kirkland Jr. thought about transferring from the Tennessee football program but after a sit down with Jeremy Pruitt, he stayed.
In late May, linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. announced that he was transferring from the Tennessee football program. Everything was going right around the program. Recruiting was going well, players were playing well, and then the news of Kirkland Jr. transferring came out of nowhere.
We still don’t know the exact reason why he wanted to leave the program. He did receive his degree in three years so he could transfer if he wanted to.
Thursday was the first time Kirkland Jr. opened up to the public about the situation. The reason he stayed was simple, Jeremy Pruitt.
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Kirkland Jr. said Pruitt was very supportive of whatever decision he was going to make. Even if that meant him leaving the program. It wasn’t a sales pitch, it was simply, Pruitt caring about him and his future.
Despite the offseason drama, everyone is ready to move forward and have a good season. Kirkland Jr. should be a vital part of a defense that struggled last season if he can stay healthy.
Early indications this spring show him as a starter at one of the linebacker positions. The linebacking core could end up being one of the effective position groups on the team next season.
If it hadn’t been for injuries, his career would have looked a lot different. As a freshman, he showed a lot of promised busting onto the field making big play after big play.
And, then the injuries came. However, despite all the injuries, it was a huge positive Pruitt was able to keep Kirkland Jr., who should be a leader for the 2018 team.
If anything he helps tremendously with depth at a position that is critical to success in the SEC. If he can stay healthy, we look for Kirkland Jr. to have a standout season for the Vols. We look for Kirkland Jr. to have his best season yet under the leadership of Pruitt and staff.