KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Butch Jones received an early Christmas present Wednesday, as 3-star defensive lineman Matthew Butler committed to Tennessee over finalists Penn State, N.C. State, Duke and Texas A&M.
The Vols have chased the Garner (N.C.) standout for months, sending multiple coaches to several playoff games in early December. Butler’s addition fills a major need along the defensive line for the Vols. He has a similar mind and mold to Tennessee senior defensive end Cory Vereen.
While Butler is ranked as the nation’s No. 21 strong-side defensive end, the 6-foot-4, 265-pound lineman is capable of sliding inside and wrecking havoc from the 3-technique. He has a high upside, especially as an every-down lineman.
Butler easily outplayed his rankings this season, recording 26 sacks and starring during practices for the Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas last week. He’s quick off the edge with a powerful punch, too.
He held two dozen offers and previously took official visits to Penn State, Duke and Texas A&M.
Butler becomes the Vols 26th commit in the Class of 2017. He is the sixth defensive lineman, joining tackles Eric Crosby and Kivon Bennett and ends Deandre Johnson, LaTrell Bumphus and Marquez Bembry.