Tennessee’s defensive line depth continues to take a hit as promising freshman defensive end Kyle Phillips is out for the remainder of the season. Head coach Butch Jones made the announcement Wednesday during his midweek press conference.
“Kyle Phillips will be out for the rest of the season, he’ll have shoulder surgery," Jones said. "He was starting to play very, very well but we needed to get (his shoulder) corrected so we could move forward and get him back because he has a chance to be a special player."
Phillips came to Knoxville as a highly touted five-star prospect from Nashville, turning down offers from LSU, Ole Miss and Texas A&M among many others.
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This news came as somewhat of a surprise, as the young defensive end had participated in the South Carolina game. Jones was asked if an injury had occurred during the Gamecocks to prop this decision.
“It was in the game. He has battled and battled and put himself in a situation and a position to play but it occurred during the game and it’s the same shoulder that’s been bothering him.”
Of course the biggest name lost on the defensive front this season has been senior Curt Maggitt. Jones also gave the latest information with his status as well.
“We did get back the MRI, basically the status hasn’t changed," Jones said. "It’s going to be based on how his body continues to heal over the next couple of weeks. Anything would be speculation to say whether he would be able to play in the bowl game or not. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Jones said not to rule Maggitt’s return completely out, however his return – if at all possible – would likely be in the bowl game and not the regular season.
Sophomore offensive lineman Jashon Robertson was labeled as "doubtful" for the North Texas game however his fellow lineman Brett Kendrick may play Saturday.
Brett Kendrick was able to make it through practice. Brett has done everything in his power to get back and we appreciate his efforts," Jones said. "He did do a little bit in practice, which was great to see."