The upcoming Citrus Bowl showdown between the Tennessee Volunteers and the Iowa Hawkeyes is looming, but Tennessee faces a significant challenge with a sizable roster of inactive players. As the clock ticks closer to kickoff—less than 24 hours away—at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Florida, Tennessee stands as a six-point favorite. However, the Vols have been hit hard by transfers, opt-outs, and injuries, resulting in a lengthy list of absentees:

– Joe Milton III (Opt-Out)
– Jaylen Wright (Opt-Out)
– Jabari Small (Opt-Out)
– Wesley Walker (Transfer)
– Doneiko Slaughter (Transfer)
– Tyler Baron (Transfer)
– Tamarion McDonald (Transfer)
– Brandon Turnage (Transfer)
– Warren Burrell (Transfer)
– Jack Luttrell (Transfer)
– Addison Nichols (Transfer)
– De’Shawn Rucker (Transfer)
– Mo Clipper Jr. (Transfer)
– Connor Meadows (Transfer)
– Bru McCoy (Injury)
– Dont’e Thornton (Injury)
– Kamal Hadden (Injury)
– Javontez Spraggins (Injury)
– Keenan Pili (Injury)
– Arion Carter (Injury)

The Vols are placing their hopes on true freshman quarterback Nico Iamaleava, set to make his debut start as a Volunteer. Facing Iowa’s formidable top-ranked defense, Iamaleava steps into a high-stakes challenge. The Hawkeyes, too, will be missing key players due to injuries, opt-outs, and transfers, further intensifying the matchup.

Names like Cooper DeJean, Spencer Petras, Diante Vines, Anterio Thompson, Joe Labas, Jackson Flier, Brenden Deasfernandes, Cade McNamara, Luke Lachey, and Erick All will be absent for Iowa.

All eyes are on Iamaleava as Tennessee aims to kickstart 2024 positively, hoping to propel themselves into a successful season. His confrontation against Iowa’s defense will be a critical litmus test at the start of his career, as he endeavors to outmaneuver the Hawkeyes. Watching this clash unfold promises an intriguing start to the new year.

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