Tennessee football's Matthew Butler to return for additional senior season in 2021
Tennessee football's most productive defensive lineman the past two seasons plans to return for a final year in 2021.
Matthew Butler announced Monday that he will play an additional senior season with the Vols. Butler will not count against UT's limit of 85 scholarship players because the NCAA announced in August that players who were seniors in 2020 could return for another season without counting against a team's scholarship limit.
Butler joins wide receiver Velus Jones Jr., cornerback Kenneth George Jr. and defensive lineman Darel Middleton as seniors who have declared that they will return to UT in 2021. Another senior defensive lineman, LaTrell Bumphus, also is likely to return.
Butler logged 43 tackles this season after tallying 45 in 2019. In each season, those figures led all Tennessee defensive linemen.
“I came in as an eager freshman, finding my way," Butler said in a video announcing his decision. "As a sophomore, I had to adhere to a new standard of football. As a junior and senior, I started to become the player that I knew I could be.”
Butler signed with Tennessee during the Butch Jones era as a three-star recruit from Garner High School in North Carolina.
He has 105 career tackles, and he projects as a prominent piece of Tennessee's defense next season after pacing Vols defensive linemen in snaps the past two seasons.
Blake Toppmeyer covers University of Tennessee football. Email him at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @btoppmeyer. If you enjoy Blake’s coverage, consider a digital subscription that will allow you access to all of it. Current subscribers can click here to join Blake's subscriber-only text group offering updates and analysis on Vols football.