Tennessee vs. ETSU

Darrin Kirkland Jr. (34) intercepts the ball in Tennessee's game against ETSU, Sept. 8, 2018

Two former Tennessee players will no longer be pursuing careers in football, according to head coach Jeremy Pruitt.

Redshirt sophomore tight end James Brown and redshirt senior linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr. have recently decided to hang up their cleats after both players struggled with injuries throughout their stints in Knoxville.

Pruitt made the announcement at the annual SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Florida, on Tuesday.

Brown, a 6-foot-3, 230-pound tight end came to Tennessee by way of Jones High School in Orlando as part of the 2017 recruiting class.

According to a 247Sports composite, Brown was a 3-star prospect, and was rated the No. 150 tight end in the state of Florida.

After redshirting his freshman season at Tennessee, Brown suffered a shoulder injury and did not appear in any games outside of the 2019 Orange & White game where he tallied one touchdown.

As for Kirkland, the former linebacker started in 11 games during his UT career, but struggled through multiple knee injuries. Pruitt had earlier floated theidea that Kirkland would retire from football during an interview with Knoxville’s 99.1 WNML back in April.

Kirkland was set to transfer to North Carolina before last season but backed out on those plans and returned to the Vols for his senior season.

After making All-SEC Freshman selection after the 2015 season, Kirkland injured his knee during his 2016 campaign, and sat out all of the 2017 season. He played sparingly in 2018, tallying 51 tackles in the 11 games he appeared in.

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