Eli Wolf discusses decision to leave Tennessee for Georgia, playing former Vol teammates in Neyland Stadium in 2019
This time last year, not many would have likely imagined a world in which come Oct. 5, 2019, Eli Wolf’s final Tennessee vs. Georgia game would feature the tight end wearing the black and red and not the orange and white, yet here we are.
Wolf made the decision to leave Tennessee for Georgia this offseason as a graduate transfer, making him eligible immediately in Athens after spending three seasons in Knoxville. For the first time since that decision, Wolf, who represented Tennessee at 2018 SEC Media Days, discussed his decision to leave one SEC East program for another this offseason.
“I just know I was looking for my future and the best option for me and when I entered the portal, Georgia was one of the first schools to call and it was a great place for me to land,” Wolf said on Tuesday.
When asked a follow-up question on his decision, Wolf made it clear he had no idea Georgia would be among his options upon entering the NCAA transfer portal.
“Until I entered my name into the portal, I didn’t know anything,” Wolf continued. “There was a point where all my options kinda got on the table and I just sat down, had a long talk with my parents, because they were really involved in this, and said here’s my top three, what’s the best option now? Georgia was the best fit for me and Coach Hartley, the tight ends coach here, is a great guy… Georgia was just the best fit for me.”
Of course, Wolf is the younger brother of former Tennessee tight end Ethan Wolf. Both brothers committed to Tennessee, Eli as a walk-on, when Butch Jones was the coach on Rocky Top. Despite the fact his brother is now a member of the Bulldogs, Ethan’s loyalties are to his school and not his brother, according to Eli.
Here is the message Ethan had for Eli when he heard his brother was headed to Athens.
“You do what’s best for you but when it comes to time for Georgia and Tennesee to play each other, I’m rooting for the Vols,” Eli jokingly said. “He hopes I do well that game but he’s still sticking with his alma mater.”
One interesting aspect of Wolf’s media session came when he was asked about Tennessee’s efforts to keep him in Knoxville. Wolf said he left when Jim Chaney was rehired at Tennessee and noted, “I never talked to Coach Chaney.”
Read into that how you will but Wolf was given plenty of opportunities during the session to compare Tennessee’s situation on the field to Georgia’s and he refused to do so each time.
“I’m not going to get into comparisons,” Wolf said. “I have a lot of friends (at Tennessee) and Tennessee did a lot for me. I’m just going to say I’m excited to be with Georgia here and I’m excited for the season.”
Finally, on making his return to Neyland Stadium come Oct. 5, Wolf said he has not allowed himself to think that far ahead.
“I can’t really tell you until it happens,” Wolf said of the emotions of that game. “I’m not too focused on that right now, I’m focused on Vanderbilt, the first game. But when the time comes, I think — again, I can’t tell you how it’s going to be.”