Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee and its recruitment of tackle Triston Miller.
Liking the style of play
This past weekend was the first-time tackle Triston Miller had visited Tennessee. The Vols made a good impression on the Charlotte, N.C., native.
“I thought it went really well,” Miller told SEC Country. “I really loved everything about their facilities and their coaching staff and everything.”
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound Miller spent the weekend hanging out with other prospects and with the coaching staff. One coach, in particular, left an important impression on the junior.
“The O-line coach, Will Friend, seems like a really good coach,” Miller said. “I really like their playing style. It’s smash-mouth football.”
The praise for Friend isn’t out of the ordinary. Class of 2018 signee Jerome Carvin told me before he committed that he was impressed with Friend after a brief phone conversation. Friend could be an underrated weapon on the recruiting trail for the Vols.
“His résumé speaks for itself,” Miller said. “He’s gotten a lot of people to the league. If you watch his lines, you can tell they are really well coached. They are all like really low and physical. You get the vibe he knows what he’s talking about.”
The offensive line might be one of the Vols’ biggest needs in the Class of 2019 that nobody is talking about. Tennessee will open spring practice in a few weeks and likely will have only seven healthy offensive linemen.
Tennessee already has an offensive line commitment from Nashville, Tenn., native Jackson Lampley. It’s not hard to imagine Miller and Lampley forming a solid run-blocking core in future seasons.
Miller plans to return to Rocky Top within in the next few months and check out a spring practice.
“Just seeing how Coach Friend is at practice,” Miller said. “I want to get a feel for what it’s like over there.”
He plans to take a few more visits and announce his top three schools by the beginning of his senior season. He wants to commit around the early signing period.
Arkansas, West Virginia and Virginia are some of Miller’s top schools. Wake Forest also is recruiting him fairly hard. Tennessee stacks up well with those other schools.
“Definitely, it’s one of my top choices,” Miller said. “You can tell Tennessee is going on the uprising because coach [Jeremy] Pruitt is coming from a winning culture and is building something.”
Offensive coordinator Tyson Helton’s vision of a physical power-running team resonates with Miller. He likes to run block and move people around, which is what the Vols are targeting at the position.
The style of play and coaches have helped make Tennessee one of Miller’s top schools. With more positive visits, the Vols could end up with a commitment from the sought-after tackle.
“Everything was very upbeat,” Miller said. “It wasn’t like most visits. For example, we were touring the weight room and they had us going over riddles. I really enjoyed it.”
Tennessee makes important final 4
The Vols received some positive news on Monday. Athlete Ronald Thompkins released his top four schools and Tennessee was on the list.
— Ronald Thompkins ll (@jrthompkins5) March 5, 2018
The Vols will battle out the rest of Thompkins’ recruitment against Penn State, USC and Mississippi State.
Any time Tennessee makes the top four for a 4-star athlete, it is worth taking note. This, however, is even more important than usual.
All three visited Rocky Top in January along with some other teammates.
None of the Grayson prospects have given any indication that they will follow each other to a school. Pappoe likely is the only one who could get others to follow. Being in the conversation for the top 2019 Grayson prospects is a win for Tennessee.
Pappoe did list Georgia and Auburn as his top two schools Sunday, according to SEC Country’s Benjamin Wolk.
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