Tennessee will have one less linebacker heading into the spring.
Redshirt junior Quart’e Sapp announced in a video on his Twitter account Friday that he will forgo his senior season and enter the 2019 NFL Draft.
“It’s been a difficult decision, but this is a dream of mine and my career decision,” Sapp said in the video.
Sapp, who graduated from UT on Friday as well, played in nine games this season, recording 29 total tackles. He finished with 111 total tackles in his Tennessee career.
During the video, Sapp thanked multiple people who impacted him during his time with the Vols, including head coach Jeremy Pruitt and the Tennessee fan base.
“Lastly, thank you Coach (Jeremy) Pruitt for acknowledging and tuning my versatility as a linebacker and the positive encouragement on and off the field … Every time I step foot in Neyland is an (indescribable) feeling,” Sapp said.
“The very best fan base in college football, UT’s fans’ passion, dedication and support of the players have always been amazing, plus the energy in Neyland is unmatched and for that I say thank you.”
Veteran linebackers Daniel Bituli, Will Ignont and Darrin Kirkland, who each saw significant playing time this season, will return for Tennessee next season. Darrell Taylor, who played as a defensive lineman this year but was a linebacker in years prior, will also be returning.
Conflict on the sidelines?
A notable incident involving Sapp and Pruitt occurred during the season.
During the Vols’ loss to Florida on Sept. 22, Pruitt sent Sapp away from Tennessee’s sideline after, according to Pruitt, he refused to go into the game. Sapp posted on Twitter that he was “never asked nor did I refuse to go into the game” and that the narrative was created by miscommunication.
Pruitt said in the week following the game that he and Sapp met to discuss the incident and praised Sapp for his leadership in the program.
“Since I’ve been here, (Sapp) has been a really good ambassador to our football program, to our team and has been a good leader on our team,” Pruitt said.