Amidst all the talk surrounding the hit Tennessee football took in the transfer portal this offseason, an overlooked issue is who the Vols lost from their 2021 recruiting class. The coaching change, a 3-7 record and the NCAA investigation would naturally magnify the annual issue of decommitments. However, it was taken to another level here.
Rather than just lose out on decommitments, the Vols lost six players who actually signed with the program. Four asked for and were granted a release from their letter of intent, another one transferred after being suspended and one was dismissed.
Which of those losses was most devastating? In this post, we’re going to rank all of the losses based solely on how much those players will be missed. Because of this ranking, we’re not just looking at how much they’ll be missed this year. This is based on how much they’ll be missed in the future. Let’s look at how devastating each loss was for Tennessee football.
6. J’Marion Gooch
Offensive lineman; Seymour, Tenn.
If you want to know how devastating of a hit Tennessee football took in departures from its 2021 recruiting class after National Signing Day, J’Marion Gooch is one of only two players out of six to leave who wasn’t a four-star across the board. He also plays a crucial position, offensive line, where you can never have enough depth.
Gooch received a release from his National Letter of Intent back towards the end of February. A three-star in-state talent out of King’s Academy in Sevier County brought size to the position, as he stands between 6’7″ and 6’8″ while weighing in the range of 340 to 360 pounds.
However, Gooch wasn’t just one of the lower-rated players on the list. He has now been disqualified since committing to the Missouri Tigers due to a medical issue. Those two things mean that he is naturally going to be the least devastating loss for Tennessee football, but it’s a sad story. You never like to see a player disqualified for this reason.