Tennessee’s 2016 signing class wasn’t perfect, but it was pretty impressive.
The Vols finished with 21 commitments, and the class ranks among the top 15 in the country. Not bad for a class that had fans concerned because Tennessee lacked the amount of scholarships that the Vols had to offer in the previous couple of recruiting cycles. Here is the report card for Tennessee’s third full class in the Butch Jones era.
Nigel Warrior wins this award hands down. The four-star safety from Peachtree Ridge High School (Suwanee, Ga.) got the Vols off to a fast start early on Wednesday when he announced he would sign with Tennessee over some of its archrivals, such as Alabama and Georgia. Don’t underestimate momentum in recruiting. Warrior, who is the No. 4 safety in the country and the No. 7 prospect in Georgia, gave the Vols plenty of it for the rest of the day. Plus, Warrior is versatile enough to play safety or cornerback. That gives the Vols some flexibility as they rebuild their secondary.
Tennessee’s good day would have been an incredible day had the Vols landed five-star defensive tackle Derrick Brown, who chose Auburn. Tennessee made a strong run at the top prospect from Georgia, who is from Lanier High School (Sugar Hill, Ga.). However, it wasn’t enough. Four-star offensive tackle Landon Dickerson from South Caldwell High School (Hudson, N.C.) deserves honorable mention as a big miss, but he and the Vols never seemed to mesh for some reason before he signed with Florida State.
While the most significant addition, Warrior, was a surprise, the biggest shocker was Latrell Williams from Columbia High School (Lake City, Fla.). Williams is a speedster than can quickly help the Vols at wideout. He may not be highly rated, but he was good enough to receive a scholarship offer from Miami.
Overall performance: A-
The Vols certainly finished strong and did what they needed to do in order to close out the 2016 class on a high note. If there’s any knock on the class, it’s what happened with Dickerson. Either the Vols didn’t want him or didn’t think think they could get him. Either way, Florida State walked away with a highly touted offensive lineman. However, that’s nitpicking. Jones proved he could finish strong with a small class.