Four-star quarterback Kaidon Salter was one of the highest-rated players in the Tennessee Vols’ 2021 signing class.

But there’s a decent chance he never plays a down for the Volunteers.

In fact, if Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel is serious about turning the Vols football program around, Salter will be kicked off the team.

On Monday, WBIR’s Cole Sullivan reported that Salter, along with offensive lineman Amari McNeill, is facing misdemeanor charges that include simple possession after being stopped early Saturday.

From WBIR:

The report states: “Mr. Salter was stopped for a violation of light law (no tail lights) and a tinted plate cover over the vehicle`s registration. Mr. Salter subsequently admitted (post Miranda) to having marijuana (approx 4 grams) and telling the passenger to throw it out when officers stopped the vehicle.”

The UTPD report for McNeill states: “On 19 June 2021 at approximately 0300 hours a traffic stop was performed on a vehicle. A bag of marijuana was observed on the ground in front of the vehicle and (McNeill) admitted to throwing the bag from the vehicle in hopes of avoiding detection. (McNeill) was charged with simple possession … and released from the scene.”

Salter was just recently reinstated to the team after being suspended in March for an incident involving drugs and drug paraphernalia.

I fully believe in second chances, but if these charges are legitimate, then Salter has to go.

This is clearly a sign that Salter isn’t taking his opportunity at Tennessee seriously. Getting stopped in a car with drugs just a few weeks after being reinstated shows that Salter viewed the incident in March as just a blip on the radar.

How can Heupel trust Salter to lead by example when he’s already letting his team down before he’s even stepped onto the field?

There are certain ways that leaders handle themselves (former UT quarterback Josh Dobbs is a perfect example) and this isn’t it.

Heupel has to set the tone for his tenure as Tennessee’s head coach. If he lets Salter remain on the team after he showed a blatant disregard for the rules, then he’s signaling to the rest of his team that the rules don’t matter.

And that’s not a viable way to build a strong culture.

This is a pivotal moment in Heupel’s Tennessee career. It’ll be telling to see how he handles it.

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