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Tennessee’s Preston Williams leaving program

01 September 2016:  Preston Williams (7) Tennessee Volunteers wide receiver after making a reception during the game between the Appalachian State Mountaineers and Tennessee Volunteers  at Neyland Stadium in Knoxville, TN.(Photo by Skip Williams/Icon Sportswire)

[UPDATE]: According to a report from Barrett Sallee of Bleacher Report, Tennessee wide receiver Preston Williams has been granted a release from the program:

Tennessee Volunteers sophomore wide receiver Preston Williams is leaving the program, per Paul Fortenberry of Volquest.com. Williams becomes the second Volunteers player to part ways with Tennessee in the last week, following the dismissal of defensive tackle Danny O’Brien, following Saturday’s road loss against Texas A&M. But unlike O’Brien, his departure from the program was for all intents and purposes, his own choosing.

A former Rivals Top 100 and five-star recruit by 247sports, he was ranked as the third best wide receiver in the 2015 recruiting class, by 247sports. A Lovejoy HS in Hampton, Georgia, native, four of the five “Crystal Ball Predictions” on his recruit profile had him selecting the Georgia Bulldogs, but he chose Tennessee out of the 23 offers he had accrued, mainly from powerhouse programs, including: Alabama, Ohio State, Clemson, Florida State, and Miami.

As a senior in high school, Williams suffered a season-ending knee injury. Since then, he has played in only six games for the Vols over the past two seasons, as he’s struggled to find time on a Tennessee club that is trying to compete immediately for an SEC Championship and cannot afford the luxury of growing pains at a skill position.

As a freshman, he caught seven balls for 158 yards, two of which were touchdowns. This year he made nine catches for 89 yards, but has been unable to find the end zone. He was listed on Tennessee’s most recent depth chart as a back-up to Jauan Jennings at the wide receiver spot, putting him fourth or fifth on the proverbial totem pole. His departure means that true freshman Tyler Byrd and Marquez Callaway may see an increased role as extra receivers.

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