Report: Tennessee loses key member of linebacking corps to injury
Tennessee’s depth at linebacker took a hit Saturday.
And it wasn’t even a literal hit that caused the injury to Darrin Kirkland Jr.
According to VolQuest.com, Kirkland, a middle linebacker, suffered a non-contact knee injury during Friday’s practice. VolQuest.com reports that the injury will prevent Kirkland from playing in next week’s opener versus Georgia Tech in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game in Atlanta. Even worse for the Volunteers, VolQuest.com reports that there is no timetable for Kirkland’s return, since the extent of his injury “is unknown at this time.”
It’s the latest setback for Kirkland, who battled a nagging high ankle sprain last season which caused him to miss five games. He returned to lead the team in tackles in a Music City Bowl victory over Nebraska.
The injury bug bit him again this spring, as a tweaked hamstring forced him to miss the start of camp.
With Kirkland out, Colton Jumper is expected to slide into the starting lineup to replace Kirkland at middle linebacker. His injury might also mean underclassmen Daniel Bituli and Will Ignont could see more reps come their way early in the season.