Linebacker Chandler Wooten, who opted out of the 2020 season, is returning to play with the Tigers in 2021, as he re-joins the program and defense now led by Bryan Harsin and Derek Mason.

“Back like I never left … See you come fall Jordan-Hare,” Wooten wrote on Twitter.

Wooten contributed 25 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss and an interception in 2019. Three years ago, he was second on the depth chart at Sam linebacker, and had 10 tackles for season.

In his career, he has 45 tackles with an interception, a pass defended and a fumble recovery. He has played in 30 career games for the Tigers.

Wooten made his original announcement in August. Wooten at the time cited the fact he expected the birth of a son in November as a reason for deciding to opt-out of the coming season. Wooten planned to take a redshirt season and return to the Tigers in 2021.

“As a soon to be father, my number one priority is the safety and well-being of my family. Unfortunately, playing this season was ultimately not a risk that I was willing to take. I have ultimately decided to opt-out of this season and redshirt,” he wrote.

SEC officials said in July that any athlete who elects to not participate during the fall 2020 athletics season because of health and/or safety concerns related to COVID-19 “will continue to have their scholarships honored by their university and will remain in good standing with the team.”