Tennessee junior defensive lineman Omari Thomas told reporters Tuesday morning that he would “definitely” be coming back to school next year for the Vols.

Thomas told 247Sports’ Wes Rucker that he is not leaving Knoxville without a degree in hand. The 6-foot-4, 320 pound defensive lineman is a Journalism/Electronic Media major on Rocky Top.

Rucker also reported that star pass rusher Tyler Baron has not decided on his future plans as of Tuesday morning.

This news is big for Tennessee football, figuratively and literally. Thomas was a strong defender in the middle of Tennessee’s defense and will only get better with another season under his belt, providing a veteran presence for a Vols defense that struggled on that side of the ball this past season.

Thomas totaled 24 tackles, 2 sacks, a forced fumble and recovery with 4 batted passes this season. He’s set to join the Vols on the field in the Orange Bowl against Clemson on Dec. 30 in Miami.