The firing of head coach Jeremy Pruitt has plunged the Volunteers football program into a mess. Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Four Tennessee players enter transfer portal after Jeremy Pruitt firing

Four Tennessee football players, including former SEC All-Freshmen linebacker Henry To'o To'o, have entered the transfer portal after head coach Jeremy Pruitt was fired due to an ongoing investigation of the program. Running back Eric Gray, linebacker Quavaris Crouch and offensive lineman Jahmir Johnson have also entered the transfer portal.

Tennessee began an internal investigation last year after details began to emerge of players and recruits receiving payments, with University chancellor Donde Plowman said that she and athletic director Phillip Fullmer had already found "a significant number of serious NCAA rules violations" and they are reportedly expecting to face severe punishment from the NCAA, which joined the investigation back in December.

"At every step, we’ve tried to do this the right way," Plowman said. "While we’re disappointed in what we found, we’re not going to hide it from anyone. Eventually, this will all come out when this investigation is over."

Earlier this week, Pruitt and several members of his staff were fired after lengthy interviews and it now appears that players may be attempting to leave the program, as the football team could be significantly hampered by whatever punishment is deemed necessary by the school and the NCAA. For now, these are the only players who are attempting to transfer, but as more details emerge from the investigation, more players could follow suit.

To'o To'o is certainly the biggest loss of the four, as he is a former four-star recruit who chose the Volunteers over several other major programs, including Alabama and USC. Crouch also became a valuable member of the team's defense, starting every game last season and finishing third on the team in tackles.

Blake Harper is a writer based in New York. He's originally from San Diego and is one of the few Chargers fans left. He doesn't believe in ties and loves elaborate celebrations. Follow him on Twitter @beezyharps 

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