May 25, 2024

Tennessee Vols address massive roster need with top player in transfer portal

The Tennessee Volunteers have seen a lot more subtraction than addition so far with the transfer portal. Tennessee fans have been waiting for good news while recognizable names say their goodbyes on social media.

That good news finally came on Friday night, and it came in a very big way. Notre Dame transfer tight end Holden Staes – the top-ranked tight end in the transfer portal by 247 Sports – committed to Tennessee.

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It was a huge answer to a position that had very few heading into 2024. McCallan Castles and Jacob Warren are seniors and are moving on. IMG Academy four-star tight end prospect Jonathan Echols flipped his commitment to South Florida last week. UConn tight end Justin Joly received a scholarship offer from Tennessee, but he ended up choosing NC State, who the Vols face in Charlotte on September 7.

Now, the Vols have a potential playmaker at the position that perhaps they haven’t had since Heupel arrived in Knoxville. The 6’4″, 242-pound Staes was a four-star tight end in the class of 2022 out of Westminster School in Atlanta, Georgia. He was ranked 11th of all tight ends in 247 Sports’ composite rankings.

Staes had his best game this year against NC State, where he caught 4 passes for 115 yards and two touchdowns in the Irish’ 45-24 win in Raleigh. For the season, Staes caught 15 passes for 176 yards and 4 touchdowns. Staes will reportedly have two years of eligibility when he gets to Knoxville.

Tight end hasn’t been a huge part of Heupel’s offense since he arrived in Knoxville, with no tight end reaching 300 yards receiving in three seasons. However, with a talent like Staes, there could be some new marks reached next fall.

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