I know you’re wondering why Tennessee linebacker Darrin Kirkland would suddenly transfer. It’s simple. Because it’s the right move.
Kirkland, who announced his decision to transfer via social media on Thursday, has no reason to believe that the Vols will get it right this time around and he can’t gamble. His clock is ticking. He only has two seasons of eligibility to make himself an NFL prospect.
It’s easy to say that Kirkland could learn plenty from first-year Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt. After all, Pruitt is thought to be a defensive guru. Pruitt could revive Kirkland’s career. Kirkland has heard those sorts of promises before. Kirkland can’t trust that his career will be rejuvenated based off of Pruitt’s resume. Kirkland has to keep in mind that Pruitt is a first-year head coach and that mistakes will surely be made.
In order to truly understand Kirkland’s perspective, try looking at Tennessee’s football program through his eyes – not your own. Kirkland probably sees UT’s athletic department as a bumbling group of guys who are just hoping they get it right. The turnover in the athletic department has been monumental. Chancellors, athletic directors, strength and conditioning coaches have been in constant flux during Kirkland’s time at UT.
I understand that most fans, especially those over 30-years-old, don’t see UT’s program that way. They shouldn’t. Fans with more perspective see UT as a struggling program with a rich history that just needs to find its way. Kirkland probably doesn’t have that sort of perspective. He was 12-years-old the last time the Vols were in the hunt for a championship.
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