The alleged theft of electronic devices from fellow student-athletes and teammates led to Tennessee coach Derek Dooley announcing Friday that sophomore tight end Cameron Clear is no longer a part of the football program.
Clear's removal is effective immediately. The rising sophomore was suspended indefinitely Wednesday, allowing time for an information-gathering process following Clear's arrest and booking at the Knox County Jail on Tuesday afternoon.
"It hurts anytime a player is dismissed from the program, but there comes a time when a player's actions dictate that his privilege of being a part of this team should be removed," Dooley in a release. "We will continue to support Cam and his family to help him learn from his actions and become the person and player I believe he has the potential to be.”
Clear's bond was set at $2,500 and InsideTennessee was told that he remained in jail until until Wednesday.
Those close to Clear, including members of the Tennessee program, must place football in the rear-view mirror and deal with the judicial process first and foremost.
The large-statured tight end started turning heads the second he arrived on campus last summer. So, what does his removal mean from a football standpoint?
Looking at it statistically, on the surface, it would seem like the Volunteers are losing a non-contributor. Nothing could be further from reality.
The priority going into, during and even still after the completion of spring workouts was to improve the running game. Having a 6-foot-6, 283-pound tight end going into his second season with the same Pro-Style scheme was a major help in providing a push against opposing defensive fronts while lining up next to either left tackle Antonio Richardson or right tackle JaWuan James.
Clear, a product of Central High School in Memphis, Tenn., played in all 12 games in 2011, making two starts. He caught one pass but gained valuable experience in learning the role of a blocking tight end.
He was one of the most highly-recruited Memphis products in recent memory as Scout.com's No. 9 offensive tackle in the country. His belief in Dooley telling him he'd get to play tight end helped him wind up in Knoxville, choosing UT over other suitors such as Alabama and Auburn.
After his commitment in Feb. 2011, Clear told InsideTennessee: "It's about family, it's about coach Dooley being a man of high character. They made me feel completely comfortable there. It felt like home."
Tennessee has senior Mychal Rivera, sophomore Brendan Downs and freshman Justin Meredith as the other tight ends on the roster.
The Vols were in on a pair of four-star tight ends in the Class of 2013 — Hunter Henry and Josh McNeil — but both recently released lists of favorites that did not include UT.
If Tennessee can't make up ground with either, then it must shift gears. That could lead it to a local product in Lucas Hamilton, who is from nearby Lenoir City, Tenn. Hamilton is a teammate of Vol commitment Camion Patrick.