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Tennessee’s relationship building on the portal paid off in 2024.

Tennessee’s relationship building on the portal paid off in 2024.

Billy Amick vs. Bellarmine // Photo via Tennessee Athletics

Tennessee, like many other programs across the country, has been using the transfer portal since its inception just a few years ago. The Vols have bolstered programs in the athletic department by acquiring new talent like Rickea Jackson and Hendon Hooker to achieve success, to name a few examples.

Since launching the portal in 2018, Tennessee has also shown itself to be a place that values ​​incoming transfers and can give them a better chance at success than before. Tennessee’s NIL collective has also been recognized as one of the best groups in the country and has remained competitive in an ever-changing landscape.

In addition, Tennessee has built strong relationships with its transfer players, which in many cases proves to be a major factor. Two recent examples of this can be found in the 2023-2024 season.

After completing their season with Tennessee, Vol Baseball third baseman Billy Amick and Vol Basketball defenseman Dalton Knecht expressed interest in doing the same with Tennessee.

Amick, a South Carolina native, played his first two college seasons at Clemson before transferring to Tennessee for his junior year. The 6-foot-1 infielder arrived at Tennessee with a lot of hype surrounding him and overcame injuries throughout the season to help the Vols win their first national championship in program history.

Tennessee assistant coach Josh Elander posted Amick’s quote in a letter to X on Tuesday after the season.

“I knew we could do it,” Amick said. “I would have liked to have spent all three years here.”

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Amick’s quote sounds very similar to what another star Tennessee transfer said earlier this year.

Tennessee Basketball transfer Dalton Knecht achieved stardom in his only season on the Rocky Top, going from Second Team All-Big Sky to SEC Player of the Year in just one season with the Vols. Unlike Amick, who came to Tennessee from Clemson, Knecht’s journey through Northeastern JUCO and Northern Colorado didn’t always have the same resources Tennessee provided. Knecht took advantage of every opportunity during his time at Tennessee, building his body through the strength and conditioning program and building his mind through relationships on the staff and in the building.

Knecht expressed his appreciation for Tennessee several times late in the season and spoke of his greatest desire to spend the majority of his collegiate career with the Vols, rather than just one year.

The sentiments of Knecht and Amick may be minor or easy to overlook after a brief shout of joy, but they tell a larger story of what Tennessee is building from an athletics perspective in the current era. Tennessee is coming off its best year of athletics in school history, thanks in large part to successful player signings who have helped the Vols build on what has already been built.

With just a few weeks left until the start of another sports season, new transfers across campus will have a chance to leave a lasting mark on Tennessee, just like Amick and Knecht did.

The idea of ​​spending more time with a specific program isn’t unique to Tennessee’s program, but two brief examples from nearly as many months illustrate the standard Tennessee has set in the portal, giving its student-athletes a chance to succeed both on and off the field.