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Sawtelle leaves UT after meeting with Kiffin.


SacFalcFan
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Darris Sawtelle has left Tennessee's football team.

The 6-foot-6, 315-pound offensive lineman made the decision following a meeting with UT first-year coach Lane Kiffin this week.

"It was very polite and very helpful," Sawtelle said Thursday. "It took about three minutes. That changed my life."

Sawtelle said Kiffin told him that he lacked the explosiveness to play in UT's new offensive system. Kiffin suggested that could be a byproduct of surgery to each of his shoulders last summer.

"I feel strong as an ox," said Sawtelle. "It took me a whole season to get them functional again."

Sawtelle, who bench pressed 315 pounds for seven repetitions before spring practice, said he didn't believe the joints affected his play in spring drills.

"For me, none," the sophomore said. "For the coaches, a great deal."

Sawtelle, however, did say he was a bit hesitant at times as he became more comfortable with his shoulders. Sawtelle had his left shoulder worked on in June and his right in July.

Sawtelle joins offensive guard Donald Langley, safety Demetrice Morley, tailback Lennon Creer, receiver E.J. Abrams-Ward and offensive linemen Preston Bailey, Ramone Johnson and Darius Myers as players from last season who either left the program or were dismissed.

Sawtelle was one of the top offensive tackle prospects in the nation when he signed with UT out of Brother Rice High School in Birmingham, Mich.

Sawtelle started spring practice as UT's second-team right guard then fell to third team and was essentially "off the depth chart" when he became concerned.

Sawtelle said Kiffin promised him a release to any school not in the SEC. That would allow Sawtelle to be placed on scholarship immediately. Sawtelle said he is unsure if he will pursue a playing career elsewhere (possibly in the Ivy League) or remain in Knoxville to pursue his law degree.

"I'm optimistic looking towards opportunities that benefit me directly," he said. "I would like a school that's the equivalent of the University of Tennessee or better. I don't want to sacrifice the integrity of my degree (to play football elsewhere)."

Sawtelle has three years of eligibility remaining but would have to sit out the 2009 season if he transferred to another Bowl Subdivision school.

"The only thing keeping me here right now is I love the university, the city and the people," Sawtelle said. "They have been the greatest joy of my experience here."

Sawtelle's grandfather, Darris McCord, played at UT from 1952-54 before playing 13 years for the Detroit Lions. Sawtelle's parents have retired to East Tennessee.

© 2009, Knoxville News Sentinel Co.

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Way to stick by the kid. If you think the kid has truly lost his ability then why does it matter if he transfers in the the SEC?

Skered.

Keep up the good work Lane. Keep weeding out these highly recruited kids because they didn't buy into the system the way everyone did in Oakland.

BTW Sac, the article left out BJ Coleman as another player that left the team.

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Skered.

Keep up the good work Lane. Keep weeding out these highly recruited kids because they didn't buy into the system the way everyone did in Oakland.

BTW Sac, the article left out BJ Coleman as another player that left the team.

this was before bj coleman left.. i posted the bj coleman article below..

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Way to stick by the kid. If you think the kid has truly lost his ability then why does it matter if he transfers in the the SEC?

You should know that when a kid is released from there scholly, they almost always say you can't transfer within conference.

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