3. Players leaving the program
This isn’t an on-the-field issue, and most of the damage on this front was done long before Tennessee football began spring practice. However, there are players who left the program after spring ball started, and you have to wonder if that’s some sort of a reflection on what Josh Heupel is running. It could be a negative reflection of Heupel or those players.
It all started two days before spring practice with tight end Sean Brown entering the transfer portal. Defensive back Shawn Shamburger, meanwhile, wasn’t on the roster and entered the portal after spring practice came to an end.
Defensive lineman Isaac Washington and linebacker Martavius French both entered the portal too. They were held out of spring ball due to a suspension related to a legal incident prior to practice starting, but quarterback Kaidon Salter and linebacker Aaron Willis were suspended due to the same incident, and they didn’t leave the program.
Finally, freshman defensive lineman KaTron Evans was released from his letter of intent the final week of spring ball. Numerous other 2021 signees wanted out after Heupel was hired, but Evans leaving was the biggest deal, as it suggested he did it because of spring practice. We don’t know for sure, but all of these are a bit concerning.