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This Nov. 5, 2016, staff file photo shows Tennessee defensive tackle Quay Picou (55.

This story was updated March 20, 2018, at 11:59 p.m. with more information.

KNOXVILLE — Tennessee defensive tackle Quay Picou will not be with the football program this spring, coach Jeremy Pruitt said after the first practice of the session Tuesday.

"Right now Quay is not on the team," Pruitt said. "He has left the team. He won't be with us this spring."

Picou was a junior during the 2017 season and had three tackles in Tennessee's season-opening victory over Georgia Tech, which was his most productive outing of the year. He had two tackles in the loss to South Carolina.

Somewhat undersized for a defensive tackle at 6-foot-1, Picou developed a following among the fans because of the sense of humor he displayed during interviews.

Pruitt did not rule out the possibility of Picou returning for the 2018 season. He still is listed as an active student in an online student directory.

Picou was considered a three-star prospect by 247Sports.com coming out of Buford High School near Atlanta. He appeared in five games for Tennessee as a freshman in 2015 without recording a tackle. He had five tackles and a forced fumble in seven games as a sophomore.

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Tennessee's defense is switching from a 4-3 defensive scheme to a 3-4, which means the Vols will have only one interior lineman in their new scheme, which should soften the blow of Picou's absence.

Fant changes positions

It was previously reported that Carlin Fils-aime would move from running back to cornerback, Tyler Byrd from receiver to defensive back and Ja'Quain Blakely from defensive end to linebacker for the first seven practices of the spring.

Tuesday revealed that another player has made a position change.

Princeton Fant, who redshirted as a wide receiver last year, practiced as a running back Tuesday. At 6-3, the former three-star prospect would make a tall running back. But his position change — and the others — are not necessarily permanent.

"He's going to do that for about seven days," Pruitt said. "We've got several guys that are going to work for seven days at certain positions. Then we're going to re-evaluate and see if they need to go back."

Through one practice, Pruitt sees things to like with the mentality of the players who are experimenting with the new positions.

"I would say the big thing is they're all willing," Pruitt said. "They're willing to try to strain. They're willing to try the new position, which is important. Some guys I've seen over the years, you could possibly move a guy to a new position, he agrees to it and then they're not really all in."

Contact David Cobb at dcobb@timesfreepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @DavidWCobb and on Facebook at facebook.com/volsupdate.

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