On National Signing Day Wednesday, Tennessee added a pair of five-star offensive linemen. A day later, that positional group officially saw some attrition.
Thursday night, the Knoxville News Sentinel reported, Jeremy Pruitt confirmed that a pair of linemen, Chance Hall and Drew Richmond, are no longer members of the UT football program. Injury issues forced Hall to retire from the sport, while Richmond has placed his name into the NCAA transfer database as he looks to finish out his playing career at an undetermined elsewhere.
Hall started 13 games of the 16 games he played during the 2015-16 seasons, all at right tackle. Knee surgery in August of 2016 sidelined Hall for the first half of the 2016 season, but he came back to start six games at the end of the year for the Vols. As a true freshman the year before, Hall started the last seven games at right tackle for the Vols and was named Freshman All-American after the 2015 season.
A knee injury sidelined Hall for the entire 2017 season, although he did come back to play in eight games this past season as a redshirt junior.
Hall will remain on scholarship at UT, but won’t count against the program’s 85-man limit.
A four-star 2015 signee, Richmond, who was rumored to be leaving last month prior to Pruitt’s confirmation, started 25 games during his time on Rocky Top. A dozen of those starts came at right tackle this past season.
As a graduate transfer, Richmond will be eligible to play immediately at another FBS school in 2019.
“These guys have done a good job. They’ve done a good job since I’ve been here,” the head coach said according to the News Sentinel. “I can’t do nothing but wish them the best.”
In addition to Richmond, rising fifth-year senior Austin Smith has decided to transfer as well. The linebacker has appeared in 23 games for the Vols, although just 10 of those appearances have come since his true freshman season in 2015.