Last week, Tennessee Vols linebacker Aaron Willis announced that he was entering the NCAA transfer portal.
I have decided to enter my name in the transfer portal‼️3 years of eligibility left 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/uyvqoVxl7W— Aaron Willis (@44crzy) April 29, 2022
Willis is a former four-star recruit from Baltimore who signed with the Vols during the 2019 recruiting cycle. He has seen limited action during his time so far at Tennessee. Willis has one total tackle to his credit.
It seems clear that Willis is buried on the depth chart at UT, so he’s looking for a program where he can get on the field quicker.
The Maryland native took to Twitter this week to try to help himself get noticed. Willis tweeted a video of himself from a Vols practice (the portion that’s closed to the media). These clips/angles are something that Tennessee doesn’t want to be made public (there’s a reason they close the team portions of practices to the media).
Two things immediately come to mind here:
- I can’t imagine that Tennessee is happy that Willis tweeted out “top secret” practice footage.
- Is this Willis trying to send a message to Josh Heupel and the Vols’ defensive staff?
This feels like Willis is trying to say “hey, I can play, I’ve been making plays in practice and I should be on the field”.
Why else would Willis tweet this video? If another program is interested in Willis — they know he’s available since his name is in the portal — they’re going to reach out to him. At that point, Willis could share some footage with those coaches and make his case.
I seriously doubt another head coach is going to be scanning Twitter and decide they want Willis on their team because of this tweet.
This seems like Willis wants to send the message to Tennessee that they made the wrong choice to bury him on the depth chart.
I’m sure every player who isn’t starting feels that way. But Willis might want to be careful. There are a lot of players who have ventured into the transfer portal and failed to find a new home. Willis could end up in that same boat while also burning an important bridge (coaches talk).
The Vols are going to play the best players. It’s obvious they don’t think Willis is the answer at linebacker. Willis would probably benefit from sticking around in Knoxville and working hard to get on the field, instead of looking for an easy path to playing time.
Who knows, if he stuck around, he could end up being a key player for the Vols before his eligibility is up. Not everyone is destined to start as a freshman or sophomore.
Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel via Imagn Content Services, LLC