Tennessee Volunteers senior defensive tackle Danny O’Brien has been dismissed from the football program for an incident unrelated to the injury that he suffered on Saturday against the Texas A&M Aggies, per Wes Rucker of 247Sports. Why O’Brien has left has not yet been made clear.
O’Brien was carted off the field on a stretcher on Saturday after a collision to the side of the head with an Aggies player. The injury resulted in O’Brien being taken to a Knoxville hospital before eventually tweeting out that he would be “good” moving forward. On pace to potentially have the best season of his career up to this point, O’Brien had collected 14 tackles through the first six games of the season, with three coming for a loss.
The 6-foot-2, 301-pounder from Flint, Michigan, was a four-star recruit in the 2012 recruiting class, where he chose the Vols over a handful of other Power 5 Conference teams, even ones in his backyard such as Michigan and Michigan State. He left offers on the table from Notre Dame, Oregon, Wisconsin, and Alabama, in order to join Tennessee in what would ultimately be head coach Derek Dooley’s final class in his tenure before Butch Jones took over in 2013.
His departure at the defensive tackle spot opens the door for sophomores Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle, who will battle for O’Brien’s starting defensive tackle spot next to junior Kendal Vickers. In his career, he collected 63 tackles, 13.5 of which came for a loss, and four sacks while 42 games for Tennessee.