KNOXVILLE — Three freshmen are no longer with the Tennessee football program.
The Volunteers careers of defensive linemen Omari Phillips and Trent Taylor and cornerback Deion Bonner are done, Tennessee associate athletic director Jimmy Stanton confirmed via text message Tuesday night.
Phillips and Bonner were indefinitely suspended by former coach Derek Dooley for violating unspecified team rules during the season, and the 6-foot-2, 288-pound Taylor wasn't a part of the program during the season while he focused on academics.
After signing with Florida, the 6-foot-6, 325-pound Phillips eventually enrolled at Tennessee during the summer when he was denied admission to his home-state school. Bonner, who was charged in the locker-room theft of items during a visit to Georgia his junior year of high school, was linked to a campus theft in November. No charges were filed, and Bonner didn't miss any games until his suspension two weeks later.
The 5-foot-11, 178-pound Bonner appeared in nine games, mostly on special teams and as a defensive reserve, while Phillips and Taylor played in just one game each.
The Vols held a team meeting with new coach Butch Jones Tuesday night with spring-semester classes starting this morning.
Patrick Brown has been the University of Tennessee beat writer since January 2011. A native of Memphis, Brown graduated from UT in May of 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in Journalism/Electronic Media and worked at the Knoxville News Sentinel for two years on the sports editorial staff and as a freelance contributor. If it’s the NBA, the NFL or SEC football and basketball, he’s probably reading about it or watching it on TV. Contact him ...