For the first time since changing his mind about transferring from Tennessee and deciding to stay with the Vols, Darrin Kirkland Jr. addressed the media on Thursday.

The middle linebacker spoke at fall camp, discussing the decision process as he opted to stay at Tennessee after initially announcing he was going to transfer earlier this year.

“The past is the past. I’m really comfortable with this university, I love this university, the best fans in the universe,” Kirkland told the media, including the Daily Beacon. “I graduated from here, I have to fill that obligation to get my degree, so that decision process was a family one. But I’m looking forward to moving forward with Coach [Jeremy] Pruitt and the defense of this team, and I’m excited to be here. …

“I feel like we’re moving in the right direction as a team, as a unit, and I’m excited for it.”

Kirkland said that Pruitt was supportive of whichever decision he made and that the first-year Tennessee coach didn’t give him a “sales pitch” to try to convince him to stay at the school. Kirkland went on to praise the Vols’ new coaching staff.

After nearly transferring in May, Kirkland has opted to attend graduate school at Tennessee this fall. Early in camp, the linebacker said he is at “110 percent” health after missing all of last season with a knee injury he sustained prior to the first game of the year.

Kirkland said he is the healthiest he has felt since the spring of 2017, several months before he sustained the knee injury.

To see all of Kirkland’s comments to the media, watch the video below, courtesy of the Daily Beacon: