There was a surprise participant on the practice field when Tennessee returned to the field on Tuesday as redshirt freshman Kurott Garland suited up for the Vols.

You may recall that the redshirt freshman entered the NCAA transfer portal leading up to training camp and hasn’t been spotted on the field since that time.

Despite what you may have naturally read into that sequence of events, Garland is back in the fold after exploring his options in the transfer portal and Jeremy Pruitt is thankful to have the freshman lineman back on the field.

“You know a lot of people look at [the NCAA transfer portal] as a bad thing. I’m not one that looks at it that way,” Pruitt said following Tennessee’s latest practice. “You know, so you’re talking about a young man that that comes here as a freshman, he had several obstacles to go through, you know, physically. So, he was thinking about possibly transferring. We supported him all the way through and in the end, he decided to come back here. So, he’s here.

“We’re excited that he’s here. And I think the guy has lots of ability. You know, he didn’t get to go through spring, but he took some reps out there today and he’s got to go through a little bit of acclimation here, and we have a plan for him, but he’s a guy that I think has lots of upside. He’s done everything that we’ve asked him to do in this program since he’s been here so we’re excited that he’s here. And, we’ll see how he responds over the next couple of days being back out there.

Considering Tennessee lost all three starters off of last season’s defensive line, senior Emmit Gooden was lost for the season during training camp and Aubrey Solomon’s status has still not been decided by the NCAA, the Vols will take all the help they can get up front.