Photo by Tennessee Athletics.
Including three in-season entries in late 2021, 13 Vols entered the transfer portal ahead of Tennessee’s 2022 season. Nine were on offense, with four offensive line departures, three were on defense and one on special teams.
None of the transfers had made much of an impact in Heupel’s first season outside of running back Tiyon Evans, but an injury to the former four-star had caused the Vols to primarily lean on Jabari Small down the stretch.
Still, running back was the most significant position of worry following transfer portal entries ahead of the 2022 season, as Dee Beckwith and Evans entered. Add a season-ending Len’Neth Whitehead injury in the offseason and the addition of transfer Lyn-J Dixon not working out, the Vols running back room was quite shallow entering the season. However, the trio of Jabari Small, Jaylen Wright and freshman Dylan Sampson all stayed relatively healthy throughout the season and gave the Vols a strong rushing attack. The trio combined for over 2,000 rushing yards and 29 touchdowns, with Wright leading the way in yards (875) and Small in touchdowns (13).
More From RTI: How Does Joe Milton III Spend His Saturdays? (Hint: He Works)
Tennessee’s offensive line also didn’t skip a beat despite four departures entering the season. Star right tackle Darnell Wright received All-SEC First Team honors after a tremendous final season on Rocky Top, junior center Cooper Mays stayed healthy all year, the combination of transfer Gerald Mincey and senior Jeremiah (J.J.) Crawford performed well at left tackle, and mainstays Javontez Spraggins and Jerome Carvin rose to the occasion in protecting the interior.
The Vols lost a pair of reserve linebackers to the portal prior to the 2022 season in Aaron Willis and Morven Joseph, neither of which were set to make a big impact in 2022, as was the case for other outgoing transfers in CB Tyus Fields, WR Andison Coby, QB Harrison Bailey, K Daniel Bethel, and TE Trinity Bell, as well.
RTI will also take a complete look at how 2022’s incoming transfer fared for the Vols last season. But first, let’s take a look at how the outgoing transfers from 2022 fared in their new destinations last year.
QB Harrison Bailey:
Bailey entered the portal on October 27, 2021 and ultimately landed at UNLV.
Bailey appeared in six games in 2022, serving as a backup for the Rebels. Bailey completed a pass in four of those six games.
Final Stats: 30-58, 318 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT; 15 rushes for -1 yards, 1 TD.
Bailey completed 16 of 27 passes for 209 yards, 2 TD and 1 INT in UNLV’s 27-22 win over Nevada in rivalry week. Bailey entered the game after starter Doug Brumfield injured his back in the first quarter. Bailey ultimately did not start a game for the Rebels in 2022.
LB Morven Joseph
Joseph entered the transfer portal on November 8, 2021, and ultimately transferred to Florida Atlantic University ahead of his junior season. Joseph appeared in 11 games for the Owls as a starting outside linebacker.
Final Stats: 31 tackles, 2 TFL, 0.5 sacks, 3 QBH
RB Tiyon Evans
The third in-season transfer portal entry in 2021 for the Vols, Evans transferred to the University of Louisville ahead of the 2022 season.
Final Stats: 83 attempts, 525 yards, 6 TD, 6.3 YPC, 71 Long; 6 rec., 13 yards, 0 TD
Evans appeared in eight games for the Cardinals serving in a complementary role while battling injuries throughout the year. Evans finished third on the team in rushing with the highest yards per carry (6.3) and yards per game (65). Evans had two 100-yard games in 2022, and they came in back-to-back weeks against Wake Forest (126 yards) and James Madison (106 yards).
RB Dee Beckwith
The 6’5″, 230-pound running back was the first postseason entry into the portal, and the former Vol ultimately transferred to the University of Kentucky.
Beckwith saw limited action–just three appearances–in his junior season and first season in Lexington.
Final Stats: 5 carries, 21 yards, 0 TD
Three of Beckwith’s five carries and 13 of his 21 yards came in Kentucky’s 44-6 blowout loss to Tennessee in late October.
WR Andison Coby
Coby entered the portal in early January in 2022 and transferred to Indiana. While there, Coby logged nine starts and made 10 appearances in his most productive D1 season to date.
Final Stats: 18 catches, 237 yards, 1 TD
Coby’s lone touchdown and first of his career came in the second quarter against Western Kentucky.
TE Trinity Bell
Bell entered the portal in early January and transferred to Iowa Western Community College after logging no stats in his freshman season on Rocky Top. Bell did not log a stat while at Iowa Western and is back in the portal.
I AM NOT COMMITTED 😂😂😂😂 my recruitment is 100% wide open
— Trinity 🅱️ (@OfficialTrinnn) January 18, 2023
OT Nicholas Edwards
Edwards entered the portal in May of 2022 and transferred to UT Martin. The Clarksville native served as a rotational offensive tackle for the Skyhawks, but he did not start in UTM’s game at Tennessee.
OT K’Rohjn Calbert
Calbert entered the portal in early January of 2022 and transferred to Eastern Kentucky three days later. A member of Tennessee’s 2017 recruiting class, Calbert was named a to the Phil Steele Second-Team All-ASUN roster in his final collegiate season. The former Vol started 10 games at right guard and helped EKU rank third nationally in passing offense per game (329.7), fifth in third-down conversion percentage (.519), 10th in total offense per game (451.3), 11th in scoring offense (36.2), and 18th in red zone offense (.879). Additionally, EKU tallied its highest point total in program history in 2022.
IOL Chris Akporoghene
Akporoghene entered the portal in late January and transferred to Tulsa last June. Akporoghene served as a backup left guard for Tulsa in his redshirt sophomore season last year.
IOL James Robinson
Robinson entered the portal in late April and later transferred to South Alabama, a Sun Belt team Tennessee defeated 60-14 in 2021. A member of Tennessee’s 2020 recruiting class, the redshirt sophomore served as a backup right guard and rotational offensive lineman for the Jaguars in their 10-3 season.
K Daniel Bethel
Tennessee’s lone special teams departure from the 2021 team, kicker Daniel Bethel entered the portal in late April and transferred to Samford. Bethel came on for 11 total kickoffs in two appearances, all of which combined for 715 yards. The former Vol recorded seven touchbacks and only one kickoff went out of bounds. Bethel did not attempt any extra points and field goals.
*Stats per Samford Athletics website*
LB Aaron Willis
An early May 2022 addition to the transfer portal, Willis went to the University of Houston. Willis saw time in only four games in 2022 with the Cougars.
Final Stats: 3 tackles, 1 forced fumble
Willis has two years of eligibility remaining.
CB Tyus Fields
Fields entered the portal in early April 2022 and transferred to Old Dominion. No stats were found regarding Fields’ first year with the Monarchs. According to his On3 profile, the former Vol entered the transfer portal on January 10 and has since withdrawn.