BUFORD, Ga. – Tennessee is poised to land a top quarterback in the 2018 class. Two were on display during Nike’s The Opening camp near near Atlanta on Sunday.
Junior signal callers Trevor Lawrence from Cartersville (Ga.) High School and Emory Jones from Heard County High School (Franklin, Ga.) both participated in passing drills. Jones was a bit limited, saying he was about 80-percent healed from a broken leg suffered last season. However, his college decision seemed to be closer to 100-percent secure.
“I’d put Tennessee as my leader, Georgia No. 2 and Mississippi State No. 3,” Jones, a 6-foot-2, 190-pound prospect said.
Lawrence didn’t name Tennessee as his leader, but the Vols are certainly near the top of his list, which also includes Georgia and Clemson.
“They’re one of my top teams, so I’m excited about it up there,” Lawrence, a 6-foot-5, 196-pound prospect said.
Ratings haven’t been released on 2018 prospects. However, Lawrence is a pro-style quarterback, while Jones is listed as a dual-threat. Both received some tutelage from current Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs, who took part in Sunday’s camp as a coach and mentor.
Dobbs didn’t cite any specific players when asked about the dozens of quarterbacks in attendance but he took note of the 2018 group, which included Lawrence and Jones.
“There’s a lot of good talent out here I know, especially in that younger group,” said Dobbs, who attended nearby Alpharetta (Ga.) High School. “That was one of the best groups I saw.”
Lawrence said he’s primarily considering Georgia, Clemson and Tennessee, but may also consider Alabama and Florida if visits to those schools this summer go well. He said he’ll also return to Tennessee.
“Just building a relationship with the coaches and getting to know the place a little better,” Lawrence said when asked what he hoped to learn on the visit.
It’s no coincidence that most of Lawrence’s finalists are SEC schools. However, Clemson, which lost to Alabama in last season’s national championship game, is still hanging tough.
“It’s just big-time football,” Lawrence said of the SEC. “It’s the best of the best. Clemson is in my top group, too. Wherever fits best.”
Lawrence doesn’t figure to let his recruitment draw out. He’s nearly ready to make his decision and said he’ll likely make an announcement in the next few months.
“That’s what I want to do,” he said. “I want to get it out of the way this summer. Probably end of summer, I’ll commit.”
Lawrence said he doesn’t expect to announce a shortened list of finalists because everyone knows which schools he is considering.
Even though Jones is leaning toward Tennessee, his decision seems a bit more unclear. However, he’s clearly smitten with the Vols.
“That would be an amazing place to play,” he said. “I love the coaches there. I have a good connection with all the coaches there and I would love to play there.”
Georgia is still strongly in the fold. Jones has a strong relationship with Georgia coach Kirby Smart from when the former Alabama defensive coordinator was recruiting Jones to the Crimson Tide. Jones has also grown fond of Georgia offensive coordinator Jim Chaney.
“I love Coach Smart since he was at Alabama,” Jones said. “He’s been recruiting me since then. And Coach Chaney, he’s a cool guy. I think he’d be alright.”