The talent was certainly on display during The Nike’s Opening Regional camp on Sunday in Buford, Ga. Of course, several Tennessee prospects were in attendance.
Here are some things to know from the monstrous event:
Tennessee continues to recruit quarterbacks with the best of them
When Butch Jones was hired, the big question was could he recruit against the powerhouses of the SEC, especially at quarterback. Jones has proven he can do just that. As has been well documented, Jones has had strong recruiting classes. Perhaps overlooked is the fact that Jones has also recruited top quarterbacks.
Joshua Dobbs was a last-second pickup in the 2013 class, in which the Vols also held onto Riley Ferguson. In the 2015 class, the Vols signed quarterbacks Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones. Then, the Vols signed Jarrett Guarantano in February. All are four-star quarterbacks.
Two highly rated quarterbacks at The Nike’s Opening Regional are high on the Vols: junior signal callers Trevor Lawrence from Cartersville (Ga.) High School and Emory Jones from Heard County High School (Franklin, Ga.)
“I’d put Tennessee as my leader, Georgia No. 2 and Mississippi State No. 3,” Jones 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,” the 6-foot-5, 196-pound prospect said of the Vols.
Lawrence said he’ll likely make an announcement in the next few months.
Meet Alvin Kamara Part II
It’s common knowledge that the Vols are desperate for a tailback in the 2017 class. They’ve offered several. One at the top of the list is Trey Sermon from Sprayberry High School (Marietta, Ga.). Tennessee running backs coach Robert Gillespie said the Vols plan on using Sermon like Kamara, meaning plenty of outside runs and being a big part of the passing game.
“I’m pretty versatile so he would use me out at receiver as well as running back,” Sermon said. “That’s pretty much how they would use me because that’s what I’m used to.”
The Vols don’t have much behind junior running backs Jalen Hurd and Kamara. Sophomore John Kelly managed just 40 carries last season, mostly in mop-up duty. If Hurd and Kamara opt to leave school early for the NFL, Kelly could sure use some help.
“It’s definitely something to think about because I plan on playing as a true freshman,” said Sermon, who is the No. 126 prospect in the country and the No. 9 running back.
The Vols have work to do with Jamyest Williams
Williams, a four-star cornerback from Archer High School (Lawrenceville, Ga.), said he’s still considering Tennessee. He said he’s also considering Georgia, Clemson, Ohio State, Auburn and Florida State. There’s plenty of competition.
Williams said he has been to Tennessee three or four times. The latest trip included a meeting with coach Butch Jones.
“The last time I was there I was in Coach Jones’ office,” said Williams, who is the No. 48 player in the nation, the No. 7 cornerback in the country and the No. 5 prospect in Georgia. “He and my dad had a great talk. It’s great there. I just can’t wait to get back up there.”
Williams said he has never been to a game at Tennessee, but said he’ll probably take an official visit to Knoxville, Tenn., this fall. Williams’ most recent visit was to see the in-state Georgia Bulldogs on Saturday.
“I really like Georgia,” 5-foot-9, 170-pound prospect said. “I went to practice Saturday and I can see a change in what they’re doing with the program. I can see how (coach) Kirby (Smart) is intense in practice…Last year they used to loaf a lot.”
Williams also visited Clemson earlier this month. He said he has a strong relationship with the Tigers’ coaching staff. Some believe Clemson may actually lead for Williams’ services.
“They’re still up there,” he said, “but I’m wide open.”
Williams, who didn’t participate in Sunday’s drills because of minor surgery to remove a bone spur in his foot, said he will visit Ohio State on May 7. When asked what he was looking for in a school, he said, “Education and the outside life, a home feel.”
Williams said he will announce his decision sometime during the season. He said he is considering enrolling in college in January.
Joshua Dobbs loves football
Tennessee quarterback Joshua Dobbs was present Sunday to coach and mentor the high school players on hand. During a blustery day, it was an interesting way to spend his last day of spring break. Yet the Alpharetta, Ga., native seemed right at home.
“It’s kind of weird because it feels like I was just here yesterday,” Dobbs said, referring to when he was a recruit. “It’s always great to come back. I have a great relationship with the coaching staff. I know all the QB’s coming back. I remember what it was like for me to have a guy that’s in college … to come back and talk.
“You come back and you’re showing support. The guys get a great kick out of it. It’s always good to come back and give back to the game for sure.”