Derek Barnett went public Tuesday with news everyone in and around the Tennessee program expected.
The All-America junior defensive end took to Twitter and essentially declared his intention to leave the Vols after three season and enter the NFL Draft – where most analysts have predicted he’ll be taken in the first round.
“It has been 3 great years. I’m very thankful for getting the opportunity to play at Tennessee! Thank you all for the many memories,” Barnett wrote in his first tweet since Aug. 24.
Barnett, a Nashville native, started and starred from Day One at Tennessee, recording 10-plus sacks in each of his three seasons. In his final game – the Vols’ Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl win over Nebraska last week in his hometown – Barnett collected his 33rd career sack to pass Hall of Famer Reggie White in the program’s record book.
Three Tennessee juniors – Barnett, wide receiver Josh Malone and running back Alvin Kamara – have now declared their intentions to forego their final seasons of eligibility and enter the draft.