KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Well that was unexpected.
Tennessee added the Volunteer State’s top-rated 2017 tailback Monday, as Nashville native Ty Chandler — a 4-star standout from Montgomery Bell Academy — committed to the Volunteers over Ole Miss, Auburn and others in a surprise announcement with 247Sports during a Facebook Live video.
Chandler is the nation’s No. 6 tailback and ranked just outside the top 100, per 247Sports’ composite rankings. He rushed for 2,558 yards and 31 touchdowns as a junior at Montgomery Bell. Chandler is the No. 2 RB in Tennessee according to 247Sports’ composite but No. 1 by 247Sports’ own ranking.
The 5-foot-11, 194-pound prospect visited Tennessee in June, and has been seen as a UT lean in recent months. However, the Rebels legacy — his father, Chico Chandler played tailback at Ole Miss — wasn’t expected to make a commitment before his senior season.
But he did, and UT coach Butch Jones and tailback assistant Robert Gillespie immediately tweeted out their excitement.
— Butch Jones (@UTCoachJones) August 15, 2016
— Robert Gillespie (@UTCoachG) August 15, 2016
Chandler instantly becomes Tennessee’s highest-ranked playmaker in the Class of 2017. He is the 24th commit overall, and the second tailback, joining 3-star Trey Coleman from West Monroe, La.
Like 4-star safety Maleik Gray, Chandler is a key blue-chip prospect to stay in-state, as UT coach Butch Jones recently discussed selling a “lifetime legacy” to Tennessee kids.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com