KNOXVILLE - Tennessee junior defensive tackle Montori Hughes is no longer part of the Volunteers' football program, UT confirmed on Thursday.
Though neither UT nor coach Derek Dooley gave an official reason, the combination of academic troubles and other disciplinary issues meant the end for Hughes. The 6-foot-4, 327-pound Murfreesboro native possessed the size and talent to become a key contributor for the Vols, but the former two-star recruit was never able to take full advantage of that potential.
Hughes, who came to UT in 2009, played in all 13 games as a freshman before battling through injuries and poor performances to play in 12 games with five starts last season. He was suspended for the Vols' regular-season finale against Kentucky last November for academic and held out of the first two practices of spring for violating team rules.
Seven of his 17 tackles on the season came in the first two games of last season before a stinger and a pair of ankle injuries hampered his fast start. Hughes was passed on the depth chart by walk-on Joseph Ayres and left spring bracketed with Ayres at one backup spot after Daniel Hood earned a starting spot following a pre-spring switch from the offensive line.
The four defensive linemen UT signed in its 2011 recruiting class have all arrived on campus for the start of summer school and workouts, including junior-college defensive tackle Maurice Couch. The 6-2, 290-pound Couch is expected to compete for starting spot and provide immediate help to the Vols' thin front line.
More coverage online, on Twitter and in Friday's Times Free Press.