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Vols reserve offensive lineman RJ Perry enters transfer portal on Wednesday

On3 imageby:Eric Cain01/04/23


Redshirt sophomore offensive lineman RJ Perry entered the transfer portal on Wednesday morning. In three seasons at Tennessee, the Fairfield Prep standout appeared in 19 games.

He failed to be a factor in his time at Tennessee with the Vols going 11-2 in 2022 with a win in the Orange Bowl.

Primarily on special teams as an offensive lineman on field goal and PAT teams, Perry saw action in every game this season. The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder appeared in seven games with the same role in 2021 – also logging 10 offensive snaps in blowout wins over Tennessee Tech and South Alabama.

Tennessee loses a tackle body with the Perry announcement, as the Vols look to replace Darnell Wright , who declared for the NFL last month. Glen Elarbee still has some options at tackle with the return of Gerald Mincey, Jeremiah Crawford and reserve Dayne Davis – plus more underclassmen. The Vols are also set to welcome four-star 2023 offensive tackle commit Shamurad Umarov to campus for next season.

Perry was an All-State defensive lineman as a prep athlete, rated as a three-star prospect who also played basketball in high school.

Understanding the portal

The winter transfer portal window opened on December 5th and runs for 45 days. The spring portal window runs from May 1-15.

Players don’t have to pick a school they are going to during those specific dates but those are the span of dates on when a player can enter the portal.

Those dates don’t apply to graduate transfers who can enter the portal whenever they wish. Also, if there’s a head coaching change, players can enter the portal outside of those dates.

Players who enter the portal in the 45 day winter window are trying to be somewhere for the spring semester. 

For Tennessee the spring semester starts on January 23rd which is late compared to many schools around the country. Tennessee a year ago started a winter mini-term class that runs the first 3 weeks of January. 

A year ago according to the NCAA 950 football players went into the portal. In 2020, there were less than 600 players who transferred. Coaches and media around the country feel like this year  there will be a record number of players who go into the portal as one time transfers. 

In fact some college coaches have said December is going to be total chaos with the early signing day and with the transfer portal becoming college football’s version of free agency thanks to NIL. 

Vols have benefitted from the portal

The transfer portal can giveth and it can taketh away. For Josh Heupel it’s been much more of a positive than a negative for the Vols.

In fact the portal has accelerated the rebuild of the program the last two years. Every knows the impact of Hendon Hooker or the last two season’s via the portal. Quarterback transfer Joe Milton will be making his fourth career start in the bowl game. 

Tennessee found left tackle help this past off-season in Gerald Mincey. Bru McCoy as a transfer has had a big impact. McCoy is the team’s second leading receiver with 619 yards and 3 touchdowns. 

Defensively, transfers Kamal Hadden, Brandon Turnage, Wesley Walker, Juwan Mitchell,  and D.J. Terry have all started games this fall helping Tennessee go 10-2. Their first 10 win regular season since 2003. 

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