Ben Martin on starting and getting the D-line ready for Montana
A freshman many fellow 2011 signees said helped convince them to commit to Tennessee is looking to leave the program before playing a single game.
Safety Pat Martin, a Greenville, S.C., native, is seeking to transfer, coach Derek Dooley said Monday.
Dooley said it was a "mutual decision" and that he would help Martin find a "better fit."
Reached by the News Sentinel, Martin said he was "dealing with a personal issue" and declined to provide further details.
"I don't have a lot of details on Pat right now," Dooley said. "He's going to transfer. I don't know where, but we are certainly going to support him and try to help him go somewhere that might be a better fit."
Martin said he hoped to be able to transfer to an ACC school, Louisville, West Virginia or TCU.
Martin was not at Monday morning's practice. Middle linebacker John Propst promptly swapped his No. 51 to wear Martin's No. 47 this season.
Considered by some scouting services as a four-star recruit, the 6-foot, 205-pound Martin was a high-end, three-star prospect, according to 247sports.com.
Martin was one of the earliest high-profile commitments in Dooley's 2011 class, as he announced his pledge last August. Throughout the 2010 season and up until National Signing Day, Martin actively tried to sway some of the nation's top players to UT via text messages and Facebook wall posts. Because of that, he became a favorite of sorts among Vols' fans, who flooded his Facebook wall with well-wishes and words of encouragement shortly after the news of his transfer broke Monday.
On the field, Martin struggled to crack into the main rotation during the first few weeks of practice and was a member of UT's scout team at Wednesday's mock game.
Andrew Gribble may be reached at 865-342-6327. Follow him at http://twitter.com/Andrew_Gribble and http://blogs.knoxnews.com/gribble