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Tennessee football: Five transfer portal targets for Vols

Dont'e Thornton
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With the transfer portal visitation window open until Sunday, Tennessee football is going to try and round out its transfer class. 

Josh Heupel has already picked up tight end McCallan Castles, offensive tackle Andrej Karic, linebacker Keenan Pili and kicker Charles Campbell. All positions were immediate needs for the Vols. 

The Vols have shown interest in picking up wide receivers, defensive and offensive lineman, as well as some secondary help. 

So who else is Heupel looking to get? Here are some names to follow regarding Tennessee football as the transfer portal heats up.

WR Dont’e Thornton 

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If you’ve followed the transfer portal, you’ve probably heard of Thornton. The former Oregon wide receiver is one of the biggest names in the portal. 

Tennessee is expected to host the wideout sometime this weekend. 

The 6-foot-5 and 199-pound Thornton finished this past season at Oregon with 17 catches for 366 yards and a touchdown. 

Although he didn’t have high production for Oregon, Thornton would fit right in under Heupel. Usually lining up in the slot, Thornton could be deadly in Heupel’s system. 

It makes sense why Tennessee football would want Thornton. Another school to watch is Miami, where former Oregon coach Mario Cristobal is pushing for Thornton. 

Thornton ranked as the No. 57 prospect out of high school in the 2020 class. 

DL Devon Sears 

Sears, a defensive lineman from Texas State, included Tennessee football in his top three among Oklahoma and Penn State. He entered the transfer portal on December 18. On Thursday, Sears was in Knoxville. 


Tennessee extended Sears a scholarship offer last Monday. He has two seasons of eligibility left. 

Transferring to Texas State after playing community college football at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa Falls, Iowa, the 6-2 and 290-pound defensive lineman did not play in 2021. He appeared in all 12 games for Texas State in 2022, finishing the year with 15 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, and one sack.

With Tyler Baron on the way out, Josh Heupel is in need of another anchor to his defense. Sears could be a plug-and-play guy for the Vols’ defensive line. 

DL Omarr Norman-Lott 

Norman-Lott, a defensive lineman transferring out of Arizona State, is expected to be in Knoxville sometime this weekend, per GoVols247. Seeking veteran defensive linemen, it is no wonder why Tennessee is going after Norman-Lott. 

Norman-Lott appeared in nine games in 2022, finishing with 14 tackles, with three tackles for loss and two sacks. The 6-3, 290-pound lineman was a four-star prospect out of high school. 

He has been relatively quiet on social media, leaving his status very much up in the air. 

TE Jake Roberts 

With Jacob Warren announcing his return, the buzz around Roberts has decreased. However, don’t be surprised if Heupel does decide to try and bring in another tight end. 

The North Texas tight end finished the 2022 season with 28 catches for 394 yards and three touchdowns. At 6-5 and 250-pounds, Roberts could replace Princeton Fant for the Vols. Fant was Tennessee’s go-to tight end, but is out of eligibility after the 2022 season.

OT John Campbell

Heupel has put an emphasis on offensive line depth, and Campbell could provide that. He is coming from Miami with 18 starts. He was a member of the 2018 class and is a Florida native. 

Campbell was expected to be on campus this week, but he also seems to be flirting with Florida. Billy Napier and the Gators are having a complete roster overhaul. 

It seems to be between the Vols and the Gators for Campbell.

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