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Tennessee OL addresses decision to enter transfer portal

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Tennessee offensive lineman Ryan Johnson has addressed his decision to enter the NCAA transfer portal on Monday.

The fourth-year junior posted a letter in a tweet addressing his decision, stating his desire to start a “new chapter” in his football career and saying “farewell for now” to the Vols.

Johnson started all 12 games of the 2018 season, but started just three games this season and has been a reserve on Tennessee’s offensive line for most of the season, though he appeared in all 12 games as a reserve and on special teams.

Here is what Johnson wrote in his classy message on Twitter on Monday afternoon:

“I am writing this letter to let you know that as of this morning, I have requested that my name be placed into the graduate transfer portal. This has not been an easy decision for me or my family as I have been a Vol fan my whole life. But I believe that it is time for me to start a new chapter inmy life and in my football career. First of all, I would like to thank all the young men and women who have been my fans and waited for me diligently after every game to give me a high five whether we won or lost. You are truly VFLs. I would also like to thank the VolNation for the last four years — this has been an incredible ride. I am extremely proud of our school, our football program, my teammates, and my effort I gave my university every day on and off the field. Please know that I love the University very much and I will always be a VFL and will always cheer VolNation on. This is not my “good-bye” to the University of Tennessee — it is just “farewell for now” because Tennessee will always be Home Sweet Home to me.”

Thank you,
Ryan Johnson #70


Johnson and Tennessee freshman wide receiver Jerrod Means both entered the NCAA transfer portal on Monday, just two days after Tennessee beat Vanderbilt to close the regular season with a fifth straight win to finish 7-5 after a 1-4 start.

A former four-star prospect out of Brentwood Academy who signed with Tennessee in 2016, Johnson completed his degree in civil engineering and graduated last December. He’s been pursuing his master’s degree in structural engineering. Johnson last week was one of four Tennessee players named CoSIDA Academic All-District First-Team, the second straight year he’s been recognized for his work academically.

He joined quarterback Peyton Manning (1996-97), kicker Daniel Lincoln (2007, 2009) and holder Parker Henry (2016-17) as the only Tennessee players to earn the CoSIDA honors twice in their careers.

After starting the final four games of the 2017 season as a redshirt freshman, Johnson opened the 2018 season as Tennessee’s starting right guard, then moved to center to start the remaining 11 games after the season-ending injury to Brandon Kennedy. This season Johnson started the season-opening loss against Georgia State at left guard and got the starting nod at right guard the following week against BYU. His third start came at right guard against Mississippi State in October.

Johnson has one year of eligibility remaining and will be eligible to play in 2020 wherever he transfers.




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