Volunteers coach Butch Jones said Tuesday via text message that Howard is taking a leave of absence from the football team and is ''dealing with some personal circumstances.'' Jones said Howard is still enrolled at the school.
Howard caught 44 passes for 388 yards and three touchdowns as a sophomore last season. Howard led the Vols in receptions and touchdown catches.
Tennessee, which went 5-7 last year, is holding its first spring practice session Friday afternoon and is playing its spring game April 12. The Vols open the season Aug. 30 by hosting Utah State.