Citrus Bowl Opt-Outs and Injury Report: Top Iowa and Tennessee players not playing in bowl game

Tennessee v Alabama
Citrus Bowl Opt-Outs and Injury Report

The Iowa Hawkeyes are set to play the Tennessee Volunteers on Monday at 1 p.m. ET in the Citrus Bowl. No. 20 Iowa (10-3) ended its season with a 26-0 loss to Michigan in the Big Ten championship game. No. 25 Tennessee (8-4) finished the year with a 48-24 win over Vanderbilt.

Iowa and Tennessee are dealing with some players opting out of the bowl game.

Iowa Citrus Bowl Opt-Outs

The biggest loss for Iowa is cornerback Cooper DeJean, who is preparing for the 2024 NFL draft. DeJean is expected to be a first-round pick in the draft.

The full list of Hawkeyes players not playing is as follows:

  • Cooper DeJean, CB (NFL Draft)
  • Jackson Filer, EDGE (transfer portal)
  • Joe Labas, QB (transfer portal)
  • Brenden Deasfernandes, DB (transfer portal)
  • Anterio Thompson, DL (transfer portal)
  • Diante Vines, WR (transfer portal)
  • Spencer Petras, QB (transfer portal)
  • Cade McNamara, QB (injury)
  • Erick All, TE (injury)
  • Luke Lachey, TE (injury)
  • Cooper DeJean, DB (injury)

Tennessee Citrus Bowl Opt-Outs

The Tennessee Volunteers are dealing with more opt-outs than the Iowa Hawkeyes.

Most noticeably, starting quarterback Joe Milton III opted out, paving the way for Nico Iamaleava to start the bowl game.

"I finally get to go out there and showcase my talents as a starter. It should be fun," Iamaleava said. "It's my first start, and it's going against a top-5 defense, I'm ready for the challenge. And I'm ready to go out there and compete with my brothers."

Volunteers coach Josh Heupel said the players are excited to play with Iamaleava on Monday.

"Guys are excited to get an opportunity to play with Nico," Heupel said on Wednesday. "They appreciate Joe, obviously, for everything that he’s done. He has been a great teammate to everybody inside of that locker room. He’s been a great teammate to Nico as well.
"He’s been a part of the preparation. He’ll be with us all week long and continue to help us in that way."

Like Milton, starting running back Jaylen Wright has also opted out of the Citrus Bowl to prepare for the NFL draft.

The full list of the Volunteers opt-outs is as follows:

  • Tamarion McDonald, DB (transfer portal)
  • De’Shawn Rucker, CB (transfer portal)
  • Doneiko Slaughter, CB (transfer portal)
  • Tyler Baron, EDGE (transfer portal)
  • Connor Meadows, iOL (transfer portal)
  • Addison Nichols, iOL (transfer portal)
  • Brandon Turnage, DB (transfer portal)
  • Jack Luttrell, DB (transfer portal)
  • Mo Clipper Jr., iOL (transfer portal)
  • Warren Burrell, CB (transfer portal)
  • Mekhi Bigelow, LB (transfer portal)
  • Wesley Walker, DB (transfer portal)
  • Jaylen Wright, RB (NFL Draft)
  • Jabari Small, RB (opt-out)
  • Joe Miton, QB (NFL Draft)

Who is favored to win the Citrus Bowl?

The Tennessee Volunteers are 5.5-point favorites to win the Citrus Bowl on Monday afternoon.

The game will be broadcast on ABC, with kickoff set for 1 p.m. ET.

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