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It appears Tennessee football will finish preseason practice with Southern Cal transfer wide receiver Bru McCoy still not eligible.

“There are some things that are out of my control and Bru’s control and our administration’s control in this process,” coach Josh Heupel said.

“Everybody on our side is working as hard as they possibly can to make sure we come to a resolution as quickly as possible and give the kid an opportunity to go play.”

McCoy must receive a release from USC or get a waiver from the NCAA to become eligible immediately. Either way, cooperation from USC would move the process along.

McCoy’s multiple transfers in the past is the obstacle. 

The NCAA allows players to transfer once without sitting out a season. In January 2019, McCoy enrolled at USC, transferred to Texas several weeks later for spring practice and then transferred back to USC that summer before playing a college game.

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“Our administration has done everything that they possibly can,” Heupel said. “They’ve been great throughout the entire process from the very beginning, and they’re still working as hard as they can to give him the opportunity to play.”

On Friday, Tennessee held its final practice open to media. It will finish preseason practice on Saturday and start preparation next week for the season opener.

The Vols will play Ball State on Thursday, Sept. 1 at Neyland Stadium.

But if McCoy is not eligible, he will slip back in the rotation so other receivers can get extra reps. On Friday, sophomore Walker Merrill, freshman Kaleb Webb and walk-on Grant Frerking were ahead of McCoy in drills viewed by media.

Otherwise, McCoy has played well in recent practices and an intrasquad scrimmage last week.

“Getting (McCoy) prepared and being able to rep (game-like situations), you’d like that before you start your regular game plan week,” Heupel said. “That’s essentially seven days before kickoff, the best-case scenario when you’re able to work him and incorporate him for what it’s going to look like when we run out of the tunnel.”

McCoy was a five-star prospect and the No. 1 athlete in the 2019 recruiting class. He took a redshirt in 2019, played six games (three starts) in 2020 and did not play in 2021. He has two seasons of eligibility remaining, according to Tennessee’s official website.

McCoy had off-the-field issues at USC, but that doesn’t appear to be a factor in his eligibility.

McCoy was arrested on July 24, 2021, on suspicion of felony intimate partner violence following an alleged incident with his ex-girlfriend and suspended by USC. But the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office declined to file charges due to insufficient evidence in what it referred to as a “he said, she said domestic violence” case.

USC’s Title IX investigation was dropped in February because McCoy’s ex-girlfriend told USC she would not cooperate in a hearing or grant the school access to her medical records, the Los Angeles Times reported. Her restraining order against McCoy was upheld.

McCoy entered the transfer portal in January, announced his commitment to Tennessee in May and enrolled in June.

Heupel said Tennessee vetted McCoy before accepting his transfer.

“Those things always go through our administration, our compliance department, all the entities on campus,” Heupel said. “We feel really good about who he is and how he’s approached getting to Knoxville and becoming an integrated part of our football team and our campus life.”