Tennessee football players seem to be revolting after Vols’ three-game skid – Washington Post


Tennessee Coach Butch Jones confirmed Monday at a news conference that running back Jalen Hurd will transfer:

Defensive lineman Jonathan Kongbo, meanwhile, remains with the team. Jones said a tweet sent out by Kongbo reading “all things must come to an end” was in reference to a soccer video game.


Not so long ago — earlier this month, even — Tennessee football really did look to be back after years of mediocrity. The Vols rose to No. 9 in the Associated Press poll, scoring a win over better-than-expected Virginia Tech, beating Florida for the first time since 2004 and upending Georgia on a last-second Hail Mary. But a 5-0 start has turned into a 5-3 reality for Tennessee, which followed the season-opening winning streak with losses to Texas A&M and Alabama — no huge shame there — and then Saturday to South Carolina, which entered the game ranked last in the SEC in total offense and last in the country in points per game.

And then Monday, things seemed to start coming completely unglued for the Volunteers, if this report from Knoxville sports-talk host Jimmy Hyams is to be believed.

Former Tennessee wide receiver Jayson Swain, in a radio appearance Monday morning, also said Hurd was leaving.

ESPN’s Chris Low, meanwhile, reported Monday that Hurd indeed has told teammates and staff members that he’s leaving but that “it’s a fluid situation and nothing is final.”

Hurd rushed for 1,288 yards and 12 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2015 but is averaging just 3.7 yards per carry with three touchdowns this season, missing one game with an injury. He ranks sixth on Tennessee’s all-time rushing list and needs just 440 yards to match Travis Henry at No. 1, but Hurd had just eight carries for 16 yards against the Gamecocks and has seen his use fall dramatically as the season has progressed.

Hurd might not be alone. On Sunday afternoon, sophomore defensive lineman Jonathan Kongbo posted this on Twitter:

Kongbo was one of the most sought-after junior-college recruits in the country this past offseason, choosing Tennessee over Alabama, Ole Miss, USC and Florida State. But he has just four tackles this season, and observers noted that Kongbo had taken all references to Tennessee out of his Twitter bio.

Vols Coach Butch Jones had two years added to his contract after the 2014 season and got a raise after last season in a deal that runs through 2020. He’s gone 26-20 in three-plus seasons in Knoxville. But anyone seeking clarity on his future is likely to be disappointed: Athletic Director Dave Hart is a lame duck, having announced his pending retirement at the end of the academic year. School chancellor Jimmy Cheek also has announced his intention to step down once his replacement is found.

In other words, this whole mess could take some time to work itself out.

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