Tennessee football: Walk-on RB Fred Orr entering portal no surprise

Tennessee running back Fred Orr (40) at practice on Wednesday, August 14, 2019.Kns Volspruittpresser
Tennessee running back Fred Orr (40) at practice on Wednesday, August 14, 2019.Kns Volspruittpresser /

You can’t blame him for giving it a shot. Fred Orr chose to walk on to Tennessee football in 2019 out of Northeast High School in Clarksville, Tenn., over accepting scholarship offers from FCS and Group of Five programs. However, after limiting playing time in three years, he’s looking for another place to go.

Orr announced Thursday he had entered the transfer portal. However, he seems to have actually entered it before the announcement, as Matt Ray of SI.com broke the news Wednesday night before Orr himself officially confirmed it.

According to Ray, Orr had offers from the Air Force Falcons, Army Black Knights and UT Martin Skyhawks back in 2019 but chose Tennessee football. He revealed his decision to enter the portal with a post on Twitter.

Although he carried the ball seven times for 32 yards in 2019 and saw action in eight games as a special teams contributor in 2020, Orr saw no action this year. It made sense for him to still give it a shot, though, given the new coaching change, the eligibility rules and the transfers of Eric Gray and Ty Chandler.

In the spring game, Orr had six carries for 40 yards. However, once it was clear he wouldn’t see the field, and as Josh Heupel has done a good job restocking the depth at running back for UT, it made more and more sense for Orr to transfer.

Remember, this guy did reach a two-star rating on both Rivals and 247Sports, meaning if he picked the right place, he could be very effective at a smaller level. Tennessee football was just not going to be a place where that could happen.

Not only are Jabari Small, Jaylen Wright and Len’Neth Whitehead all going to be back next year, but Dylan Sampson and Justin Williams are commitments in the 2022 recruiting class. All of these guys will likely be on the roster in 2023 as well.

This is why there was no panic when Rocky Top’s best running back this past year, Tiyon Evans, decided to enter the transfer portal before the season even ended. It also explains why Dee Beckwith decided to enter the portal, as Whitehead stole his thunder as the power back.

Next. Vols report card for 2021 season. dark

Of course, given all of these transfers, a walk-on running back who could clearly play at another level would decide to transfer. There was nothing wrong with him giving it a shot for Tennessee football, though. Everybody should wish Orr the best in his future, as there’s a chance he will be a reliable contributor elsewhere.