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Tennessee football is without a senior defensive lineman Saturday.
Darel Middleton posted on Twitter he will not play at South Carolina “due to health issues.”
“I want be playing today,” Middleton wrote. “But back next week after a couple check ups. Ready to go. Im on the edge of my seat tonight!”
No. 21 Tennessee opens its season against South Carolina at 7:30 p.m. ET Saturday on SEC Network.
The 6-foot-7, 305-pound Middleton had 28 tackles and one sack in 2019. The Oak Ridge product played in all 13 games and made six starts in his first season with Tennessee after transferring from East Mississippi Community College.
Middleton is one of a handful of seniors on the Tennessee defensive line. LaTrell Bumphus, Matthew Butler and Aubrey Solomon are expected to play key roles for the Vols.
Sophomores Greg Emerson and Kurott Garland also are expected to be important contributors. Redshirt freshman Elijah Simmons and freshman Omari Thomas also could factor into the playing group.
Vols defensive coordinator Derrick Ansley said Monday he expects UT to play eight or nine defensive lineman against the Gamecocks.
Mike Wilson covers University of Tennessee athletics. Email him at [email protected] and follow him on Twitter @ByMikeWilson. If you enjoy Mike’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it.
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