Tennessee coach Butch Jones announced that linebackers Jalen Reeves-Maybin and Dillon Bates will be out for the remainder of spring camp after Tuesday’s practice.
Jones said both players would be back by early June and certainly in time for the 2016 season, but declined to specify what the injuries were. Reeves-Maybin has suffered a shoulder injury, per a report by Volquest.com reporters John Brice and Brent Hubbs earlier on Tuesday. Jones said senior running back Jalen Hurd also was limited on Tuesday with tendinitis.
“We’re taking every precautionary measure for him,” Jones said. “We don’t anticipate that being something that hampers him throughout spring.”
It’s certainly a tough situation for Reeves-Maybin, who considered forgoing his final year of eligibility in order to enter the NFL Draft, but ultimately decided to return to Tennessee. Reeves-Maybin’s injury would have allowed for Bates to receive more snaps had he not been knocked out as well. Bates missed most of the 2014 season with a shoulder injury and received a medical redshirt.
“It very unfortunate because Dillon has worked extremely hard to get back,” Jones said. “He’s put himself in position to compete, but, you know, that’s the breaks. That’s the mental toughness we talk about. He’s shown great resiliency and perseverance. He’ll bounce back and he’ll be better for it.”
Jones said the injuries provide more opportunities for other linebackers, such as sophomore Quart’e Sapp, sophomore Gavin Bryant and junior Colton Jumper.
“It’s other opportunities for other players to really assert themselves and put their football identity on video,” Jones said.
The Vols were already dealing with several players who were being held out of practice. Tennessee has been hit particularly hard on the defensive line for the second consecutive spring camp.
“Where it really limits you is up front kind of like last spring,” Jones said. “We’re not able to do as much. We cut practice short today. It also hurts your development offensively as well because you can’t play as much football because you need to get through the entire spring.
“The spring game may end up being a spring practice. We may have to call it an Orange and White festival or something just because of a lack of running backs and defensive linemen.”
Reeves-Maybin, who had 105 tackles last season, led the Vols with 14 tackles for a loss, which was good for seventh-best in the SEC. He was second on the team in sacks with six. Reeves-Maybin has started every game for the Vols for the last two seasons. He seemed to reference the injury on his Twitter account.
It pours when it rains
— Jalen Reeves-Maybin (@Finally_Maybin) March 22, 2016