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The exodus to the transfer portal begins

Cam Johnson is done at Vanderbilt.

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Vanderbilt Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports

Following a 2-10 season in Clark Lea’s first year, and in the brave new world of the NCAA transfer portal, we expected some attrition from the Vanderbilt football program this offseason. This wasn’t really what we wanted, though.

That’s Cam Johnson, the team’s leading wide receiver in 2020 when he caught 56 passes for 545 yards and three touchdowns, announcing that his Vanderbilt career is done with one year of eligibility remaining. Johnson was one of the team’s top recruits in the 2018 class and redshirted that season due to injury before emerging in 2019 and then breaking out in 2020. In 2021, his production dropped off a bit, but he still caught 34 passes for 327 yards and four touchdowns. That was still good for third on the team, though he was behind Chris Pierce and Will Sheppard.

That said, this probably isn’t an indictment of Clark Lea and staff. Johnson spent four years at Vanderbilt and, since he missed most of 2018, has never played in a bowl game — the kind of thing that might be attractive to a guy with a year of eligibility remaining and probably staring at another losing season at his current program, regardless of what else happens this offseason. If underclassmen who are getting playing time start bailing, yeah, sound the alarms. This probably isn’t it, though.

UPDATE: Gabe Jeudy is out, too.

UPDATE, AGAIN: The exodus from the DB room... continues.