Tennessee’s misfortune on the offensive line continued this week as recent signee Melvin McBride announced he would be forced to retire due to “health problems” on Wednesday. The Volunteers just confirmed the unfortunate news later in the afternoon.
The 6-foot-3, 312-pound McBride was rated as a three-star prospect in the team’s most recent signing class and was expected to compete on the interior of the offensive line this fall on Rocky Top. The 6-foot-3, 312-pound Memphis native signed with Tennessee out of Whitehaven High School.
Following the news, Tennessee released a statement from Jeremy Pruitt:
“Melvin is a great young man, and my heart breaks for him and his family. However, I’m glad that we have an outstanding medical staff that did a great job identifying the problem when Melvin first arrived here. We are always going to do what’s best for our student-athletes here at Tennessee. He is certainly a Vol for Life and will continue to be a big part of our program.”
Unfortunately, McBride is the latest in a growing list of Tennessee offensive linemen forced to call it a career early. In recent seasons, Jack Jones, Chance Hall, Devante Brooks, Eric Crosby and Tanner Antonutti have all had their careers ended prematurely. When you add Trey Smith to the list, although Pruitt did offer up an encouraging note on Smith recently, it’s easy to see why the Vols have struggled so much at the position in recent seasons.
Depth on the line of scrimmage is critical to a team’s success in the SEC and has to be among the top priorities for Pruitt’s Tennessee program moving forward.