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Calbert leaving Rocky Top, hoping to continue career

Former Pioneer K'rjohn Calbert is transferring from UT (Photo courtesy of UT athletics)

K’rojhn Calbert hopes to continue to put on the pads and helmet next year, but it won’t be with the Tennessee Vols. Calbert entered the transfer portal Wednesday, signaling his intent to finish his college career with another school.

Calbert, who will be a sixth-year senior next fall, earned his college degree from UT in December in Communication Studies. He first arrived in Knoxville in 2017 and played in 33 games for the Vols, including making five starts in the 2019 season.

Calbert was vying for a starting position with the Vols last fall, but suffered a torn biceps during camp. He was able to rehab the injury and return to practice in time to run through the T on Senior Day against Vanderbilt on Nov. 27. Calbert was not listed on the team’s participation report for the Music City Bowl, one the Vols lost to Purdue in OT 48-45.

Calbert arrived at UT during the Butch Jones era, but ended up playing under three head coaches in his five seasons. He has one year of eligibility left due to all players being granted an extra year after COVID shortened the 2020 season.

On his personal Twitter page, Calbert was thankful for his opportunity to represent his home state.

“To Be a Volunteer – Truly something special and a brotherhood known to, in the grand scheme, very few men. As a life-long Tennessean, I didn’t choose this, but was born into it,” wrote Calbert. “Although my years on Rocky Top didn’t go as I had planned, it’s certainly been the best and most rewarding time in my life. I was able to fulfill a promise to my parents, my grandmother and myself when I walked across that stage this past December. The pride I felt being a graduate of the University of Tennessee was truly immense. The support from everyone associated with this program will never be forgotten.

“I will never forget the feeling of busting through that famous T and the feeling of awe that it inspired each and every time, but especially the first and last times. It’s a feeling I wash I could give to every Tennessean and, especially, every diehard Tennessee fan. So, thank you. You truly are the greatest fan base in this country.”

Calbert signed with UT after earning all-state honors at Warren County High School. He dealt with the after effects of knee surgery in high school during his time in Knoxville, even redshirting his first year to work toward a full recovery. The bicep injury was the latest to hold him back, but Calbert is hopeful he’ll be good to go at his next stop.

He is expected to draw interest from several teams in the transfer portal – something recently added by the NCAA to allow students a one-time move between schools without having to sit out any time. As a graduate transfer, Calbert would also be eligible to play immediately at another school without sitting out.

Calbert first saw action in 13 games in 2018, but came into his own during the final stages of the 2019 season. His first start came against Chattanooga, a game the Vols won 45-0. He was also in the starting lineup when Tennessee made a trip to the Swamp to face the Florida Gators the following week.

In his five starts in 2019, including the Taxslayer Bowl in Jacksonville, the Vols were 4-1.

Calbert received a number of scholarship offers during his senior year in Warren County, ultimately picking Tennessee over other SEC schools Florida and South Carolina. One school that could be a factor for Calbert now is Eastern Kentucky, coached by Walt Wells. The third-year coach of the Colonels was on staff in Knoxville in 2017 and was one of Calbert’s main recruiters.

While deciding his next stop, Calbert is continuing to keep his eye on the future – one he hopes involves football for many more years.

“As much as it hurts me, after prayer and counsel, I am leaving Rocky Top to be able to continue pursuing football and my dream of making it into the NFL,” said Calbert.

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