Tennessee DL Matthew Butler announces plans for 2021 season
Matthew Butler has spent the past four years playing for Tennessee. Now, the senior defensive lineman is going to come back to suit up for the Vols for one final season.
On Monday, Butler announced that he’s decided to return to Tennessee for the 2021 campaign. The NCAA gave all players an extra year of eligibility due to the uncertainty surrounding the 2020 season caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. So that’s allowing Butler to come back and play for the Vols for an additional year.
This past season, Butler had 43 tackles, two sacks, one forced fumble and one pass deflection in 10 games. Those numbers were similar to the ones he had during his junior year in 2019, as he had 45 tackles, 2.5 sacks and two pass deflections in 13 games that season.
Butler didn’t play as much over his first two seasons with Tennessee, as 2019 marked his breakout year for the Vols.
A 6-foot-4, 291-pound lineman out of Garner (N.C.) High School, Butler was a 3-star recruit in Tennessee’s 2017 recruiting class. He was the No. 35 defensive tackle in that class, per the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he committed to the Vols on Dec. 21, 2016.
It’s a big boost for Tennessee’s defensive line that Butler will be returning, as it gives the Vols an experienced player to lead the defensive front again in 2021. Over Butler’s 40 games with the program, he has made 14 starts.
Butler announced his decision with a heartfelt video that he shared on Twitter:
Philippians 4:6-7 pic.twitter.com/3P9mTv9k5F
— Matthew Butler (@mattbutler_45) January 11, 2021