Auburn football: What now for Big Kat Bryant at Tennessee?

Auburn football at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Auburn defeated Tennessee 30-17.
Auburn football at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., on Saturday, Nov. 21, 2020. Auburn defeated Tennessee 30-17. /

Big Kat Bryant left an Auburn football program in disarray, but he is now dealing with many of the same issues–if not worse ones–with his new school in Knoxville.

Life is being cruel to Auburn football transfer Big Kat Bryant at the present moment.

After leaving the Tigers to join the Tennessee Volunteers via the transfer portal (he wasn’t the first and likely won’t be the last), Bryant’s new program is mired in a familiar controversy with the firing of head coach Jeremy Pruitt: 

"Tennessee has fired head football coach Jeremy Pruitt after a weeks-long investigation into potential recruiting violations in the program, sources told ESPN on Monday.An official announcement is expected later Monday, and it wasn’t immediately clear whether Pruitt will be paid any of the more than $12 million he is owed under the terms of his contract.Additionally, athletic director Phillip Fulmer, a Hall of Fame coach, plans to retire after leading the athletic department for more than three years, sources said."

Auburn football had a head coaching change as well, but Gus Malzahn’s departure was nothing like this. Maybe he said some things that upset the fanbase, but there was not a hint of wrongdoing by his coaching staff in the recruitment department.

Pruitt clearly lacked ethics in his tactics, but his departure may not have been too much of an issue on his own. As we learned recently, Kevin Steele is (was?) part of the support staff in an analyst role, and his presence in Knoxville couldn’t be considered a deterrent for Bryant given their rapport on the Plains.

His presence could have always spelled trouble for Pruitt, as Barrett Sallee of CBSSports humorously (and perhaps prophetically) pointed out five days ago:

Neither Pruitt nor Steele was the true pull for Big Kat, though. instead, as he mentioned in his Instagram post, Shelton Felton was a deciding factor.

Like Pruitt, and seven other Tennessee staffers, though, Felton is also a goner:


The grass definitely seems greener on the Plains than on Rocky Top right now, but there has been no word yet on whether Bryant is reconsidering his decision.

It should be an interesting situation to watch, though. It’d be natural for Bryant to feel a hint of betrayal right now, and clearly, cover-ups were going on across the board.

Either way, the Vols’ coaching search now begins, and it’s definitely one Fly War Eagle will have our eyes on:

Good thing Auburn football fans have Bryan Harsin, his new coaching staff, and a new vision to look forward to. Tennessee fans will have to figure out what to be excited for after this whole debacle likely sets them back even further after a 3-7 2020 season.

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