The roster that new Tennessee Vols head coach Josh Heupel is inheriting isn’t bad, but it could certainly use some depth.

Tennessee is losing numerous key players on both sides of the ball from last season’s team. Building depth is going to take some time.

The Vols, however, can get a jumpstart on building depth by utilizing the transfer portal.

And a great transfer option just happened to hit the portal this week.

West Virginia defensive back Tykee Smith announced on Wednesday that he’s entering the transfer portal.

Smith, who has three years of eligibility remaining, was named a first-team All-American by Pro Football Focus this past season after recording 61 tackles and two interceptions.

With Bryce Thompson off to the NFL, Smith would be a perfect option to anchor the Vols’ secondary alongside Alontae Taylor.

Smith will obviously be a highly sought-after player in the transfer portal. But Tennessee could have a slight edge in his recruitment.

Vols defensive coordinator Tim Banks spent the last five seasons coaching at Penn State. And Smith is a Philadelphia native. Banks is known for his recruiting connections in Michigan, but there’s no doubt he built some solid connections in Pennsylvania during his time with the Nittany Lions.

Smith didn’t receive a scholarship offer from Penn State before he committed to West Virginia. But I’m sure Banks and Smith are familiar with each other.

It’s unclear why Smith is transferring from West Virginia, though it’s worth noting he didn’t start in the Mountaineers’ bowl game matchup against Army. And he wasn’t on the sideline for the second half (oddly enough, Tennessee was originally slated to play in the Liberty bowl against WVU, before COVID-19 issues forced the Vols to withdraw from the game).

Whatever the reason for the transfer, this is a player the Volunteers need to be all-in on.

Featured image via Ben Queen-USA TODAY Sports


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