Tennessee's rebuilding of its defensive front looks to be missing a brick.
Dimarya Mixon is strongly considering leaving the University of Tennessee football program, according to multiple sources close to InsideTennessee.
The West Mesquite (Texas) High School product was sent home from the bowl site in Nashville in December as the Volunteers prepared to take on Nebraska in the Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl. Tennessee coaches used Mixon in all but one game in his first three years with the Orange & White prior to the December incident.
In 2016, the 6-foot-4 260-pound defensive lineman recorded eight tackles and a sack in 12 games. He entered primarily as a specialist in dime and nickel packages.
Mixon was a contender to start somewhere along the Vols' defensive front in 2017. Derek Barnett, Andrew Butcher, LaTroy Lewis, Danny O'Brien and Corey Vereen are all gone from the group of D-linemen that started out on the 2016 roster. Rising junior defensive tackles Kahlil McKenzie and Shy Tuttle are both coming off injuries that required surgery and that ended their sophomore seasons prematurely.
After signing Alexis Johnson and Jonathan Kongbo in the 2016 class, coach Butch Jones and staff did not ink a defensive lineman from the JUCO ranks for 2017.
Tennessee announced on Feb. 7 that Brady Hoke will replace Steve Stripling in leading the defensive line. Spring practices don't get underway until March 21, so Mixon has not worked under Hoke on Haslam Field.
Tennessee officials have not yet confirmed that a final decision has been made.