Tennessee kicker Brent Cimaglia announced that he was opting out of the final two games of the 2020 season on Monday via a social media post.
The 22-year-old Page High School alum mentioned a combination of injuries and improving his mental health for reasons factoring into his decision.
“It is with a heavy heart that I have decided to opt out for the remainder of the 2020 football season,” Cimaglia tweeted. “It has taken some time to come to this conclusion; however, my focus is to work on my mental well-being and physical health. Due to many hardships and struggles within the program, it is in my best interest to take this additional time to rehabilitate ongoing injuries. I look forward to giving my best in the future.”
Cimaglia has made five of nine field goals this season (55.6 percent) with a long of 50 yards. He connected on 19 of 20 extra points, missing his first point-after attempt against No. 6 Florida on Saturday; he had made 88 straight PATs until that point.
Last season, Cimaglia made 23 of 27 field goals (85.2 percent) and all 35 extra points. In his four years in Knoxville, Cimaglia hit 46 of 62 field goals and 88 of 89 extra points while accounting for 226 points.
With the 2020 season not counting against player eligibility, Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt said Cimaglia indicated he intends to return to the program next season.
“I just got done having a conversation with him, and I’ve said this before, he’s played through difficult circumstances throughout the season,” Pruitt said. “He feels like that it’s better for him not to participate the remainder of the season and it’d put him in a better spot to get ready for next year.”
In Cimaglia’s absence, Pruitt alluded that junior punter Paxton Brooks and sophomore kicker Toby Wilson could each contribute in the kicking game.
“Paxton’s been our backup,” Pruitt said. “If not him, Toby Wilson. When we play home games, Toby comes and he’s kind of the backup kicker. This past week, Paxton was not in practice the entire week, so Toby was there and was ready. We’ll figure that out as the week goes.”
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