Transfer offensive tackle commits to Vols, picks Tennessee over SEC rival

With one of Tennessee’s starting offensive tackles from this season heading to the NFL draft, the Vols have looked to the NCAA transfer portal over the past several weeks in search of an experienced replacement. They addressed their need Monday by beating out an SEC rival for a veteran starter from another Power Five program.

Miami offensive tackle John Campbell announced Monday night that he has committed to Tennessee, choosing the Vols over Florida and Florida State after taking official visits to all three schools.

The 6-foot-5, 320-pound Campbell, a redshirt junior who was the Hurricanes’ starting left tackle this season, took an official visit to Tennessee on Wednesday and Thursday before leaving Friday morning for an official visit to Florida this weekend. Florida State hosted him on an official visit the weekend of Dec. 17 after he added his name to the NCAA transfer portal on Dec. 16.

Campbell said he has two remaining seasons of eligibility. He plans to enroll at Tennessee this month, with spring-semester classes scheduled to start on Jan. 23.

This season, he started all 12 of Miami’s games after missing the 2021 season with a knee injury. He has appeared in 34 games over the past five years, making 18 starts — 16 at left tackle, one at right tackle and one at left guard.

He became Tennessee’s third transfer commitment of the day. Oregon wide receiver Dont’e Thornton announced Monday afternoon that he’s planning to join the Vols, and Arizona State defensive lineman Omarr Norman-Lott picked Tennessee three hours later. Campbell revealed his choice three hours after Norman-Lott.

The former three-star prospect from Dr. Phillips High School in Orlando, Fla., joined former Texas offensive lineman Andrej Karic as Tennessee’s second transfer addition on the offensive line this offseason. Karic, a sophomore who appeared in all 12 of the Longhorns’ games during the regular season, primarily played tackle at Texas but could also play guard for the Vols.

Campbell now might be a natural choice to replace Darnell Wright, Tennessee’s starting right tackle this season. Wright announced last month that he was leaving for the NFL draft after playing in the Dec. 30 Orange Bowl against Clemson.

According to Pro Football Focus, Campbell had the second-highest pass-blocking grade for Miami’s regular linemen this season, finishing with a 73.5 grade after giving up 19 pressures in 453 pass-blocking snaps. Five of those pressures resulted in sacks — after he allowed only one in his first four years — and he was penalized five times. He only had a 52.6 run-blocking grade, pulling his overall offensive grade down to 59.5.

He redshirted during his first season at Miami in 2018 after appearing in four games. As a redshirt freshman, he played in 11 games and made two starts, and he appeared in seven games with four starts in 2020 before suffering a season-ending knee injury going into the 2021 season.

Coming out of high school, Campbell was ranked the No. 481 overall prospect and No. 36 offensive tackle in the 2018 class, according to the industry-generated 247Sports Composite. He received scholarship offers from more than 40 schools, including Tennessee, before signing with Miami in December 2017.

That Dr. Phillips, Campbell played against the Vols senior quarterback Joe Milton III, a former standout at Orlando’s Olympia High School. Milton, a former Michigan transfer, started Tennessee’s final two games this season and will enter spring practice as the front-runner for the Vols’ starting job going into the 2023 season.

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