Tennessee football running out of options at RT with Chris Akporoghene entering transfer portal

Tennessee offensive lineman Chris Akporoghene (77) at practice on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.Kns Vols Filmstudy
Tennessee offensive lineman Chris Akporoghene (77) at practice on Tuesday, September 3, 2019.Kns Vols Filmstudy /

It’s starting to get concerning for Tennessee football on the right side of the offensive line. First, Cade Mays decided to leave for the NFL after occupying the right tackle spot this past season. Darnell Wright has already moved over to left tackle and will stay there.

K’Rojhn Calbert, who was a promising talent at right tackle and could have come back after missing most of this season due to injury to fill that void, has since transferred to the Eastern Kentucky Colonels. Now, a young guy with potential there is gone.

Chris Akporoghene, who has been with Tennessee football for three years, announced that he had entered the portal. He played one game for the Vols this past year but had played in six games in the previous two years before that. The 6’3″ 310-pound graduate of IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., revealed his decision on Twitter.

Before going to high school in Florida, Akporoghene grew up in Nigeria. He was always seen to be a project, but the raw talent appeared to be there. It’s possible the change in tempo with Josh Heupel’s system was not a good fit for him, which is why he made the move.

Either way, though, despite his limited experience, Akporoghene was another guy UT could have used to offset Mays at right tackle next year. With him gone, options there are thinning for Heupel, Alex Golesh and Glen Elarbee. He was a four-star on Rivals for a reason in 2019, even if he was a three-star on 247Sports and ESPN.

So where do the Vols turn to now with Calbert gone and Akporoghene in the portal? Well, they always have Jeremiah Crawford, the junior college transfer from last year’s class who was the only player Heupel specifically signed on the trail. He showed lots of promise this past year despite seeing limited action.

Dayne Davis was a breakout player as a former walk-on who could fill the role, and he saw lots of action this past year there. Beyond those two guys, though, Heupel’s options are naturally going to be somebody with no real experience at this level.

It’s a lot easier on the interior. Cooper Mays, Jerome Carvin and Javontez Spraggins are all back, and Kingston Harris, Ollie Lane and Jackson Lampley all provided solid depth last year. Left tackle will be fine, as either Crawford or Davis will back up Wright depending on who starts.

Next. Tracking Vols seniors and transfers for 2022. dark

However, Tennessee football now has a lot of work to do to figure out how to handle the right side of the line. There are players, particularly in this year’s recruiting class, but nobody is proven. The Vols have some work to do this offseason to be able to go two-deep there.