The status of a key piece of Tennessee’s defensive secondary is decidedly up in the air due to a potentially serious health condition.
In meeting with the assembled media Tuesday, head coach Jeremy Pruitt revealed that Baylen Buchanan has been diagnosed with “a narrowing of the spine.” The genetic condition with which the cornerback is dealing, cervical spinal stenosis, has led to a handful of college football to retire from the sport over the past several years.
While it’s not yet to that point in this case, Pruitt said Buchanan will remain sidelined for the foreseeable future as further medical testing will determine what’s in the best interests of the player moving forward.
“[F]or his safety and precaution, we’re holding him out,” the coach said according to 247Sports.com. “We’ve sent him to a lot of specialists across the country, and (we’re) just kind of waiting and gathering information.
“[O]ne thing you’ve got to figure out, right, is this something that he’s had the whole time he’s played, right? Or is this something that just kind of has happened right now. But (for) precautionary (reasons), we’ve held him out, and we’re going to continue to do that, because his safety is our first priority.”
This past season, Buchanan started all 12 games for the Volunteers.