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Texas Athletics photo / Inside linebacker Juwan Mitchell, who led the Texas Longhorns in tackles last season with 62, announced Monday that he is transferring to Tennessee.

The NCAA transfer portal has served as an exit for some of Tennessee's top football players since last season's 3-7 disappointment was followed by the termination of former coach Jeremy Pruitt.

On Monday, the portal opened to benefit the Volunteers in their most needed of positions.

Former Texas inside linebacker Juwan Mitchell, who entered the portal in March, announced through social media that he would continue his career in Knoxville. The 6-foot-1, 230-pounder from Newark, New Jersey, led the Longhorns with 62 tackles last season and also tallied 4.5 tackles for loss.

"Let's ride," Mitchell posted on Twitter. "Can't wait to ball out in front of 103,000 every Saturday."

Tennessee has not announced Mitchell's signing.

The Volunteers lost their top two inside linebackers from last season when Henry To'o To'o and Quavaris Crouch entered the NCAA transfer portal in January. Crouch announced last week that he was heading to Michigan State to continue his career, while To'o To'o has not revealed his playing plans for 2021.

Mitchell played in 21 games the past two seasons for the Longhorns, making 13 starts, including eight last year for the Alamo Bowl champs. Before enrolling at Texas in the summer of 2019, Mitchell played at Butler County Community College in Kansas, amassing 55 tackles and 7.5 tackles for loss during the 2018 season.

 

Hardy in portal

Former McCallie School defensive lineman Jay Hardy's career at Auburn apparently will span just one season.

Or, to be more accurate, one game.

The 6-3, 317-pound redshirt freshman entered the NCAA transfer portal Monday morning, with AL.com the first to report the news. Hardy was a four-star member of Auburn's 2020 signing class, which turned out to be the final class under former Tigers coach Gus Malzahn, with 247Sports.com ranking Hardy as the nation's No. 13 defensive tackle prospect and the No. 101 overall recruit.

Hardy's only action last season occurred in the Citrus Bowl loss to Northwestern, and he along with junior defensive end Jaren Handy did not participate in last month's A-Day spring game in Jordan-Hare Stadium. Handy entered the transfer portal late last week.

New Auburn coach Bryan Harsin was asked about their absences on a Zoom call immediately following the A-Day game.

"Those guys weren't out there for various reasons," Harsin said. "They just weren't a part of what we were doing today. Those things happen. As we move into the next phase, those things will be revisited. Then we will get in the summer, and we will have new players coming in.

"Then we will go from there."

Hardy, who capped his McCallie career by helping lead the Blue Tornado to their first Division II state championship since 2001, picked Auburn over Tennessee. His position coach last season, Rodney Garner, is now the defensive line coach for the Vols.

 

Williams to Tide

Former Ohio State receiver Jameson Williams announced Monday that he would be continuing his college career at Alabama.

In two seasons with the Buckeyes, Williams amassed 15 receptions for 266 yards (17.7 yards per catch) and three touchdowns. His most notable catch was a 45-yard scroing reception this past season early in the fourth quarter of the 49-28 national semifinal thumping of Clemson in the Sugar Bowl.

The 6-2, 189-pounder from St. Louis was a four-star signee in 2019, checking in as the nation's No. 82 prospect in that class.

 

Burns leaving UGA

Major Burns, a four-star signee in Georgia's 2020 class out of Baton Rouge, announced Monday on Twitter that he is entering the portal. The 6-2, 190-pounder played in six of Georgia's 10 games last season, amassing five tackles.

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6524.

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