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KNOXVILLE, Tennessee — Tennessee confirmed the departure of senior defensive back Naz Oliver Wednesday night, although it was lost amid a flurry of significant injury news.
If nothing else, Oliver was a survivor. It’s tough to last to a fifth year in the SEC, and even tougher when you are beset by injuries and hardly play at all.
Oliver will graduate and leave UT with a degree, coach Butch Jones said. He thus could be eligible to play immediately at another school, and Jones said UT wants to help him find an opportunity if he chooses to pursue a final season.
Oliver’s departure leaves UT with three remaining signees from the Class of 2009, the only class signed by former coach Lane Kiffin. They are: defensive linemen Marlon Walls and Daniel Hood and linebacker Greg King. Tight end Joseph Ayres, a former walk-on, is also a fifth-year player.
Oliver’s departure leaves the Vols with an estimated 82 players on scholarship, including at least four former walk-ons who we think are currently receiving athletic aid. When the new semester starts in two weeks, coaches could hand out additional scholarships to walk-ons should they choose to do so. The NCAA maximum is 85.
So what does Tennessee’s scholarship roster look like now? For one thing, it no longer has a New Jersey representative. Oliver was the lone Garden State native.
BY YEAR AT UT:
GAMES PLAYED AT UT:
30 or more: 14
GAMES STARTED AT UT:
20 or more: 5
BY HOME STATE:
South Carolina: 5
North Carolina: 4
Illinois, Mississippi, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan: 1 each