KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers.
Top Tennessee target Trey Smith visited Alabama over the weekend, catching the Crimson Tide’s 33-14 win over Texas A&M.
A week earlier, Smith watched the Tide destroy the Volunteers 49-10 inside Neyland Stadium.
Tennessee has long been considered the favorite for the University School standout, but after Saturday’s trip, some have wondered if Alabama is suddenly a serious factor in the No. 20 overall prospect’s recruitment?
Well, yes. And no.
According to my esteemed SEC Country colleague Chris Kirschner, the blue-chip offensive tackle received the traditional 5-star treatment in Tuscaloosa, as Smith and his family were clearly made a priority during the weekend visit. Smith was personally escorted by multiple Alabama assistant coaches, including offensive line assistant Brent Key and renowned recruiter Billy Napier.
Smith also spent time with fellow 5-star offensive tackle commit Alex Leatherwood.
— Trey Smith (@smithtrey98) October 23, 2016
Sure, the Tide have plenty to offer Smith, who is on record acknowledging that he grew up an Alabama fan. The 5-star recruit also hasn’t been shy about saying he wants to play for a championship contender.
Furthermore, the fact that Saturday’s trip was merely an unofficial visit — leaving the door open for an official visit — is another chip for Alabama.
However, the Crimson Tide have just one offensive line spot remaining in the their 2017 class. While recruiting Smith, Alabama is also chasing Top-50 prospects Jedrick Wills and Isaiah Wilson.
Ultimately, the Tide gave Smith something to think about Saturday, but Alabama is not confident in its chances to land Smith, per Kirschner’s sources on staff.
The Tide believe Smith’s strong ties to Tennessee are simply too much to overcome. Smith’s relationship with his sister Ashley, a football staff member at Tennessee, remains a key component in his recruitment.
That’s all good news for the Volunteers, who have invested a lot of time recruiting Smith.
Heck, Tennessee held a satellite camp in Jackson simply to see the 6-foot-6, 300-pound tackle for a full day this summer.
Smith remains Tennessee’s chief uncommitted target. He’s a blue-chip, in-state product at a position of need. He pretty much checks every box.
Smith has seen the Volunteers play three times already this season, and he will take an official visit to Knoxville before announcing a decision on Dec. 6.
The Volunteers have just one offensive lineman currently committed in their 2017 class, and they plan (or hope) to pair Smith with 2018 5-star commit Cade Mays as their two offensive tackles of the future.
Before the Alabama visit, the Under Armour All-American told ESPN.com that he has a top school in mind, saying, “I have. The most important part is just taking more visits and getting more familiar with the campus and staff. To me, the main factor is life after football. There are lots of opportunities that come after playing the sport. I want to see what the school can do for me and the opportunities it can provide.”
I repeat. Tennessee remains in the driver’s seat to land the coveted offensive tackle.
Explosive tailback sets OV
2017 Fort Myers (Fla.) tailback Darrian Felix announced on Twitter he will take an official visit to Tennessee on Nov. 12 for the Kentucky game.
— Darrian Felix (@Dhat_6) October 24, 2016
Felix is a dynamic athlete, ranking as the nation’s No. 7 all-purpose tailback. On the season, the senior has over 1,000 total yards and 14 touchdowns.
Although spots are tight, Tennessee continues to look for playmakers, and the 3-star prospect could be an upgrade at a potential position of need.
Vols offer Top-100 wideout
On Tuesday evening, 4-star California receiver Amon-Ra St. Brown tweeted he had received a scholarship offer from Tennessee. The Mater Dei High (Cali.) product is the nation’s No. 38 overall prospect in the Class of 2018.
— Amon-Ra (@amonra_stbrown) October 25, 2016
The 6-foot-1, 187-pound receiver already holds 15 offers, including scholarships from Notre Dame, Alabama, USC and Stanford.