May 30, 2024

 

The doors to the NCAA transfer portal swing both ways, and while Tennessee has had nine scholarship players enter the database since the end of the regular season, the Vols also have been active in evaluating, offering and pursuing a handful of players from other schools. Tight end and the offensive line were obvious top priorities for Tennessee’s coaching staff when the portal window opened on December 4, and the Vols have ratcheted up their search for help in the secondary after six defensive backs from their own program hopped in the portal. Portal recruiting moves fast in most cases, so it can be hard to track who all Tennessee has offered or hosted on visits.

Transfer offers generally should be viewed as a foot in the door of a fast-moving process. Sometimes they don’t amount to anything and in other cases a player is on campus rather quickly. However, they do show what positions Tennessee is interested in bolstering via the portal and can turn into eventual additions.


As Tennessee looks to land its first portal commitment, here’s a running tracker of the players in the portal the Vols have offered or contacted – that we know about, because transfers do not always report offers like high school players – over the past two or three weeks. ***This story will be updated frequently.***

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(Photo: Steven Erler, USA TODAY Sports)
DL Marley Cook (Middle Tennessee State)
Tennessee’s first offer was to a defensive tackle down the road in Murfreesboro. The 6-foot-2, 298-pounder from Mississippi was a redshirt junior in 2023, and as a team captain and 12-game starter he totaled 22 tackles, six tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble, one pass breakup and one interception. As a first-year starter in 2022, Cook had 9.5 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks and blocked a punt to earn All-Conference USA honorable mention and first-team all-conference recognition from Pro Football Focus, and he had three sacks as a reserve in 2021. Cook, who has two years of eligibility remaining, has garnered transfer offers from Ohio State, Miami, Texas A&M, Ole Miss, TCU, Missouri and others.

(Photo: Icon Sportswire)
OL Remington Strickland (Texas A&M)
Strickland was a third-year sophomore and a reserve center for the Aggies this season. After appearing in two games last season, Strickland appeared in eight of Texas A&M’s 12 games this season, totaling 43 snaps on offense according to Pro Football Focus. He got playing time at both right and left guard in addition to center. The former three-star prospect is out of Fort Bend Christian Academy in Sugar Land, Texas, the same school that is bringing the Vols a Top247 offensive tackle in 2024 commit Bennett Warren. Despite his lack of experience, Strickland’s transfer offer list includes LSU, Southern California, Arkansas, Baylor, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Maryland, Arizona State, Kansas, Houston and others.

(Photo: David Butler II, USA TODAY Sports)
TE Justin Joly (Connecticut)
Tennessee’s first offer in its pursuit for a plug-and-play tight end was a familiar one. Joly impressed for UConn when the Huskies played at Neyland Stadium in early November, catching eight passes for 89 yards in Tennessee’s 59-3 win on Homecoming. The 6-foot-3, 232-pounder went on to lead UConn in receiving as a sophomore, totaling 56 catches for 578 yards and two touchdowns. He was productive as a freshman as well, catching 18 passes for 250 yards and two scores. Joly, ranked the No. 2 tight end in the portal by 247Sports, was set to take an official visit to Tennessee before the Vols decided to go in another direction, and he committed to NC State on December 14, meaning he will face the Vols again next season.

(Photo: Connor Caldon, University of Rhode Island Athletics / gorhody.com)
CB Syeed Gibbs (Rhode Island)
The 6-foot, 180-pounder from Massachusetts shined as a redshirt freshman at the Football Championship Subdivision program in 2023, totaling 52 tackles, three interceptions, three tackles for loss and three pass breakups in 10 games for the Rams. Gibbs was named the CAA Defensive Rookie of the Year and earned at least one FCS All-American honor. With three years of eligibility remaining, he’s garnered several Power 5 offers since entering the portal, most notably from Auburn, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Cincinnati, California and others, and he has visited both Georgia Tech and Virginia.

(Photo: USA TODAY Sports)
TE Holden Staes (Notre Dame)
Tennessee hosted the 6-foot-4, 242-pounder from Atlanta on an official visit last week, the first of multiple trips he planned as he looks for his next program. Staes, a former four-star prospect who has two years of eligibility remaining, caught just one pass for the Fighting Irish as a freshman in 2022, but he pulled down 15 receptions for 176 yards and four touchdowns this season. He caught two touchdowns as part of a four-catch, 115-yard performance in Notre Dame’s win at NC State in September and added scores against Tennessee State and Central Michigan. He is ranked the No. 1 transfer tight end by 247Sports.

VIP: Staes enjoys ‘great weekend’ at Tennessee during official visit

(Photo: Jordan Prather, USA TODAY Sports)
TE Jordan Dingle (Kentucky)
Tennessee has pursued multiple tight ends it played against this season. Dingle, a third-year sophomore at Kentucky this season, had four catches for 61 yards for the Wildcats in their 33-27 loss to the Vols in October, and he caught 11 passes for 198 yards – 18 yards per catch – in 11 games this season. He was productive as a redshirt freshman in 2022, too, catching 20 passes for 220 yards and hauling in touchdowns against Ole Miss, South Carolina and Missouri – he had four catches for 44 yards against Tennessee as well. The 6-foot-4, 238-pounder from Bowling Green, who has two years of eligibility remaining, was an SEC All-Freshman Team selection as a 12-game starter last season.

VIP: Vols’ Heupel, Abeln set to visit another tight end in transfer portal

(Photo: Sam Conners, Southeastern Louisiana University / lionsports.net)
TE Bauer Sharp (South Dakota State)
The Vols hit on a Football Championship Subdivision tight end in bringing in McCallan Castles from UC Davis last year, but Sharp is a different prospect. The former high school quarterback at Dothan High School redshirted at South Dakota State as a quarterback in 2021 before making the switch to tight end in the spring of 2022. After catching 11 passes for 78 yards and a touchdown as a redshirt freshman, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Sharp hauled in 29 passes for 288 yards with three touchdowns and scored five rushing touchdowns for the Jackrabbits in 2023. Utah and Oklahoma have joined Tennessee in pursuit of Sharp, who has two years of eligibility remaining, since he went into the portal.

VIP: TE in transfer portal gets offer from Vols, plans to visit Tennessee

VIP: December 13th update on Bauer Sharp’s visit plans

(Photo: Petre Thomas, USA TODAY Sports)
WR Chris Brazzell II (Tulane)
Tennessee’s pursuit of help at wide receiver began with Brazzell, the 6-foot-5, 195-pounder from Texas who had an outstanding redshirt freshman season at Tulane. Brazzell caught 44 passes for 711 yards and five touchdowns for the Green Wave, who played for the American Athletic Conference championship after an 11-1 regular season. Brazzell, who has three years of eligibility remaining, has the kind of length and big-play ability (16.5-yard per-catch average with 14 catches of 20+ yards and seven of 30+ yards) that would fit ideally for Tennessee’s offense. He is currently rated a four-star transfer and ranked the No. 11 transfer wideout by 247Sports, and the Vols hosted him on a visit earlier this week.

VIP: ‘Amazing trip’ to Tennessee impresses Tulane WR transfer

(Photo: University of Florida, floridagators.com)
OL Jalen Farmer (Florida)
The Vols brought in a backup on Florida’s offensive line and made him a starter two years ago in Gerald Mincey, and Farmer is in the same category. The 6-foot-5, 310-pounder appeared in just two games for the Gators as a redshirt freshman this season, totaling 27 snaps at right guard against McNeese and Vanderbilt. Farmer redshirted at Florida in 2022 and was a coveted prospect coming out of high school despite a three-star rating by 247Sports. He took official visits to Kentucky, Alabama, Auburn and Florida before signing with the Gators.

VIP: SEC O-lineman in transfer portal ready to visit Tennessee

(Photo: Kyle Terada, USA TODAY Sports)
CB Marcus Harris (Idaho)
The 5-foot-11, 185-pounder is looking for a jump back to the FBS level after redshirting at Oregon State in 2019 and transferring to Idaho, where he excelled for three-plus seasons with the Vandals, an FCS playoff team this season and in 2022. Harris had 51 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss, 10 pass breakups and three interceptions this season, and he had six career picks at Idaho with two returned for touchdowns. His 29 pass breakups over his Idaho career will garner plenty of suitors for Harris with that kind of playmaking such a commodity in the secondary. Harris was a two-star prospect coming out of high school in Portland.

Jermod McCoy (Photo: Instagram, @jermodmccoy)
CB Jermod McCoy (Oregon State)
McCoy has emerged as a coveted cornerback in the portal after an impressive freshman season at Oregon State. The 6-foot, 180-pounder, who has three years of eligibility remaining, totaled 31 tackles, seven pass breakups and two interceptions with a fumble recovery as well. He’s garnered a slew of offers since hopping in the portal after one season with the Beavers: Washington, Oregon, SMU, Michigan State, Utah, Louisville, Houston, TCU, Texas Tech, Auburn, Ole Miss, Texas A&M, Arkansas, Southern California, West Virginia, Florida, Oklahoma and Tennessee. He is rated a four-star transfer and is currently the No. 69 overall transfer and No. 6 transfer cornerback per 247Sports.

VIP: Four-star CB transfer set to visit Vols after offer

VIP: Transfer CB likes Tennessee ‘a lot’ after official visit

(Photo: Villanova University Athletics, villanova.com)
CB Devon Marshall (Villanova)
Another FCS cornerback, Marshall made an impact for Villanova as a freshman before having a big sophomore season for the Wildcats. The 6-foot, 200-pounder from Boston totaled 47 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and 11 pass breakups as Villanova won a share of the CAA title and reached the quarterfinals of the FCS playoffs. Marshall also had 13 tackles and blocked a punt in nine appearances last season. He’s garnered multiple Power 5 offers with Mississippi State and Vanderbilt joining Tennessee from the SEC, NC State, Pittsburgh and Boston College from the ACC and Cincinnati, Houston and West Virginia from the Big 12 in pursuing him.

VIP: Three OVs in four days set for transfer CB Devon Marshall

(Photo: Brian Bahr, Getty)
SAF Trey Jones (Central Michigan)
The native of Wetumpka, Ala., spent the past five seasons with the Chippewas and is one of the more productive safeties that will pop up in the portal this cycle. In 44 games at Central Michigan, Jones totaled 188 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, five pass breakups and three interceptions. He made 85 tackles in 2022 and had 66 this season. The 6-foot-2, 215-pounder, who will have just one season of eligibility remaining, has a couple of other SEC programs in pursuit with Florida and Texas A&M also extending offers to him since he went into the portal.

(Photo: Helen Comer/The Daily News Journal / USA TODAY Sports)
SAF Jakobe Thomas (Middle Tennessee State)
Originally from Starkville, Miss., Thomas played his high school football at Tullahoma High School in Tennessee before playing the past three seasons at Middle Tennessee State. He started 11 of 12 games for the Blue Raiders in 2023 and was their second-leading tackler with 71 stops to go along with three tackles for loss and five pass breakups. Thomas was excellent as a redshirt freshman in 2022, notching 37 tackles and four interceptions while starting just three games. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder popped up on Tennessee’s radar this week and had a visit lined up at one point, but he committed to Oregon State on December 14.

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