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A Look at Who Tennessee Football is Targeting in Transfer Portal

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A week after the transfer portal officially opened, Tennessee football has already begun targeting several prospects. The portal will close on Jan. 2, 2023.

Prospects don’t have to be committed to a new school by Jan. 2, but they have to enter the portal before that date.

With that being said, here’s a look at who the Vols are pursuing in the portal.

Notre Dame TE Holden Staes

In the transfer portal, Notre Dame tight end Holden Staes ranks as the No. 1 tight end and the No. 12 overall prospect by 247Sports. Out of Westminster School in Atlanta, Staes was the No. 288 overall prospect in the 2022 class. He was also the No. 11 tight end.

At 6-foot-4 and 242 pounds, Staes accepted the blocking role for the Fighting Irish. The sophomore had 16 catches for 187 yards and four touchdowns. Almost all of his production came this season while working as a blocking tight end.

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Staes fills a void for Tennessee as it is losing both Jacob Warren and McCallan Castles following the 2023 season. Staes would slot in with receiving tight end Ethan Davis.

Staes visited Tennessee the weekend of Dec. 9, and was extended a scholarship offer.

MTSU DL Marley Cook

Cook, who was extended an offer on Nov. 30, also fills a need for Tennessee. The Vols have already lost Tyler Baron on the defensive line, however Cook mainly plays on the interior of the line.

Cook picked up 22 tackles, six tackles for loss and a sack this season for MTSU. The Blue Raiders recently fired veteran head coach Rick Stockstill after a 4-8 season. Cook started all 12 games this year.

Cook boasts 60 career tackles, 19 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery over four seasons at MTSU. He has one season of eligibility remaining.

The 6-foot-2, 298-pound defensive lineman is the No. 65 overall prospect in the transfer portal according to 247Sports Composite.

Texas A&M OL Remington Strickland

If 2023 shows anything, it is that Tennessee can always use more offensive line depth. An offer to Texas A&M offensive lineman Remington Strickland can help fix that issue.

Strickland was a three-star prospect out of high school and was the No. 413 overall prospect. He also ranked as the No. 59 prospect from Texas.

He has been extended offers from many notable programs, including LSU, Houston, SMU, TCU, Vanderbilt, California and Baylor.

Rhode Island DB Syeed Gibbs

The secondary still needs depth, and Tennessee is using the portal to address that. Gibbs was extended a scholarship offer on Dec. 5.

Gibbs had 52 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions and six passes broken up in 10 starts this season for Rhode Island. Gibbs has three years of eligibility remaining.

UConn TE Justin Joly

Tennessee extended Justin Joly a scholarship offer before shifting its attentions to Staes. Joly was also expected to visit Knoxville before it was cancelled and Staes visited instead.

In two seasons at UConn, Joly caught 76 passes for 828 yards and four touchdowns. This year was his best year by production, hauling in 56 passes for 578 yards and two touchdowns. When he played against Tennessee in November, Joly had eight receptions for 89 yards.

Southeastern Louisiana TE Bauer Sharp

Bauer Sharp caught nine passes for 288 yards and three touchdowns for Southeastern this season in a run-first offense. Tennessee will try and get Sharp to Knoxville for a visit as the staff tries to add depth to the tight end room.

Sharp received very little attention out of Dothan (Ala.) High School. PFF graded the 6-foot-5, 245-pounder as the No. 3 tight end in the FCS.

Kentucky TE Jordan Dingle

Dingle’s portal entry is one of the most recent, but the hunt for a tight end makes Tennessee interested in the prospect.

Dingle caught 20 passes for 220 yards and three touchdowns while appearing in 13 games after redshirting his freshman season. This year, he recorded 11 receptions for 198 yards in 10 games while leading the Wildcats’ tight end room.

Dingle was a three-star prospect in the 2021 class out of Bowling Green (Ky.) High School. He was the No. 480 prospect overall out of high school.

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