Injured Tennessee LB Darrin Kirkland Jr. to miss entire year

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Tennessee linebacker Darrin Kirkland Jr.'s knee injury will prevent him from playing at all this season, leaving the 25th-ranked Volunteers without one of their projected top defenders.

Vols coach Butch Jones announced the severity of Kirkland's injury Friday. Jones said Wednesday that Kirkland had undergone meniscus surgery earlier that day but said at the time there wasn't yet a timetable for the junior's potential return.

Jones said that ''we had a positive outlook that it could be three to four to five weeks, but unfortunately that's not the news that came about.''

Kirkland made 45 tackles last season despite missing five games with a high ankle sprain.

Colton Jumper will take over Kirkland's spot at Mike linebacker Monday when Tennessee opens the season against Georgia Tech at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

---

More AP college football: http://collegefootball.ap.org and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

---

Follow Steve Megargee at www.twitter.com/stevemegargee

SI Apps
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide — from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Grant Wahl, Andy Staples and more — delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.