KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – Tennessee took another blow just before their season opener.
University of Tennessee head football coach Butch Jones confirmed Friday that Darrin Kirkland Jr. will miss the entire 2017 season after undergoing knee surgery. The junior linebacker who played middle – or “Mike” – linebacker had surgery to repair a torn meniscus.
“We did get the results back from Darrin Kirkland and unfortunately it wasn’t the news we wanted to hear,” said Jones. “We’re hoping we had a positive outlook that it would be 3-5 weeks, but unfortunately that’s didn’t come about.”
“I know Derrin is extremely disappointed,” Butch continued. “,but just like anything in life he will be better for it and he will work exceptionally hard and we look forward to getting him back.”
Jones said the team will move forward Monday against Georgia Tech. He says Tennessee senior Colton Jumper will have to step up to fill Kirkland’s position.
“I believe he started 9-10 games for us and he’ll be ready to go,” said Jones.
The head coach said he is also looking to redshirt junior Dillon Bates and freshman Will Ignod to step up.
“A lot of these individuals gained valuable reputations last year, Colton being one of those at the mike and we’ll move on from there,” said Jones. “That’s football, that’s the way it is. I’m excited to see what those individuals can do starting Monday night.”