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Auburn defensive lineman Big Kat Bryant to transfer to Tennessee
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Auburn defensive lineman Big Kat Bryant to transfer to Tennessee

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Iron Bowl 2019

Auburn defensive lineman Big Kat Bryant lines up during the Iron Bowl on Nov. 30, 2019 in Auburn.

Less than a week after Auburn’s Big Kat Bryant announced he had entered the transfer portal, the senior defensive end has found a new home.

Bryant announced Saturday he is transferring to Tennessee for his final season of eligibility. Bryant becomes the second defensive lineman to transfer from Auburn after Daquan Newkirk announced he was leaving for Florida on Thursday.

Bryant’s decision to transfer to Tennessee will reunite him with former Auburn defensive coordinator Kevin Steele, who the Volunteers hired as a defensive assistant earlier this week. He will also be reunited with Volunteers outside linebackers coach Shelton Felton, who was Bryant’s high school head coach for his junior and senior season.

“Your leadership and guidance has gotten me to where I am today. Blessed with the opportunity to play on the same field with you again!” Bryant wrote on social media in a post tagging Felton. “Once my coach, always my coach.”

Bryant was expected to be the go-to guy on the Auburn defensive line following Derrick Brown and Marlon Davidson’s departures to the NFL, but injuries severely limited the senior’s production. He fought through the pain and ultimately only missed one game and ended the year with 17 tackles, four quarterback hurries, three tackles for loss and three sacks.

Bryant graduated from Auburn this December, which means he will be immediately eligible for Tennessee.

Because the NCAA has granted an extra year of eligibility to college football players due to the pandemic, Bryant has another season in which he can play. He explained after the Citrus Bowl on Jan. 1 that he was still making up his mind as far as his future.

“I don't know. I mean, because I didn't play the whole season I'm kind of mad about that, so I'm going to weigh my options,” Bryant said. “As of now, man, I really don't know. … We're going to see where we're sitting.”

Bryant was one of five Tigers to enter the transfer portal following Gus Malzahn’s firing on Dec. 13. Quarterback Cord Sandberg and running back Mark-Antony Richards have not announced their decisions yet, while Bryant is headed to Tennessee, Newkirk is Florida bound and running back Florida State has committed to Florida State.

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