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Tennessee defensive back JaRon Toney opts not to return for fifth year

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COLUMBIA, MO - NOVEMBER 2: Jaron Toney #35 of the Tennessee Volunteers wraps up the legs of Henry Josey #20 of the Missouri Tigers late in the third quarter on November 2, 2013 at Faurot Field/Memorial Stadium in Columbia, Missouri. (Photo by Kyle Rivas/Getty Images)

One of Tennessee’s most-experienced defensive backs has opted not to return to the football team for his final year of eligibility.

The Knoxville News-Sentinel was the first to report Wednesday that JaRon Toney will graduate this summer and won’t return for his redshirt senior season in the fall. Toney, a former walk-on who became the team’s starting nickel corner, started 10 games for the Volunteers over the past two seasons.

Toney originally joined the team as a running back, but was moved over to the defense side of the ball heading into his redshirt sophomore season. He totaled 79 tackles and three tackles for loss in 28 games played.

“He’s going to enter another phase of his life,” head coach Butch Jones said. “And he’ll have his degree, very excited for him. But also, I’m very, very appreciative of what he’s done for Tennessee football.”

Toney, who also made an impact on special teams with six tackles, was seventh on the team with 37 total tackles in 2013.

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Sam Cooper is a contributor for the Yahoo Sports blogs. Have a tip? Email him or follow him on Twitter!

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