KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us at SEC Country for the latest recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers.
Tennessee plays Kentucky on Saturday — its penultimate home game at Neyland Stadium in 2016.
The noon start isn’t ideal for recruiting, but the Volunteers will still host a trio of official visitors this weekend — all Sunshine State natives.
SEC Country has confirmed Mississippi State commit Deandre Johnson, a 3-star defensive end from Miami Southridge, will make the trip, as will 3-star Fort Myers tailback Darrian Felix.
Dunbar (Fla.) linebacker Shanon Reid will also take an official visit this weekend.
Originally, the Vols were hoping to have a few more visitors, but guys like LSU offensive line commit Saahdiq Charles had to reschedule because of the early kickoff time.
So who are the three Florida visitors?
* Johnson is a 6-foot-3, 239-pound pass rusher who has been committed to the Bulldogs since July. He’s been to Tennessee before, camping in Knoxville this summer. Although the Vols hope to sign either Matthew Butler (see below) or LaBryan Ray, they’ve continued to recruit Johnson as a potential contingency plan.
* Felix is a super intriguing prospect, as the Vols already have two tailback commits. But the 5-foot-11, 195-pound speedster brings a different element than 4-star Ty Chandler and 3-star Trey Coleman. Furthermore, Tennessee appears truly interested in adding an additional tailback. Oregon is hot for Felix, as is North Carolina, Miami and possibly Auburn. Still, a hard push from Tennessee could go a long way this weekend.
* Finally, Reid is a 3-star linebacker with around 30 offers. Most believe the 6-foot-2, 209-pound outside linebacker is destined for Michigan, who has aggressively recruited Reid for months. He visited Ann Arbor in October, his only official visit before this weekend’s trip to Tennessee. The Vols already have four linebacker commits — one more than they’ll most likely sign on Feb. 1. Turnover is coming with that group, but right now, it’s hard to see Reid, an early enrollee hopeful, getting seriously in the mix.
Top Tennessee target taking OV to Texas A&M
North Carolina defensive end Matthew Garner will trip to College Station this weekend for an official visit to Texas A&M.
Butler, a 3-star end with two dozen offers, is a priority target for the Vols, who hope to fill their final defensive line spot with a commitment from Butler.
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound pass rusher unofficially visited Tennessee for the Alabama game, and told me the Vols were guaranteed one of his five officials. Butler has already taken trips to Duke and Penn State before this weekend’s trek to Texas A&M.
After an OV to Tennessee and N.C State, Butler hopes to make an announcement sometime in December, telling me, “I feel like I can’t make a bad decision at this point. I just want to make the best decision.”
Vols offer two Texas playmakers
Tennessee continues to target blue-chip prospects from the Longhorn State, offering a pair of 4-star playmakers earlier this week.
2018 wideout Brennan Eagles, an Alief Taylor High product from Houston, is a Top-100 prospect and the nation’s No. 17 receiver.
— Brennan Eagles (@_BrennanEagles_) November 10, 2016
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound recruit already holds 13 offers, including USC, Ole Miss, Oklahoma and Georgia, among others.
Meanwhile, the Vols also offered 2018 Texas tailback Joshua Fleeks.
The 4-star running back from Cedar Hill tweeted out the news.
— Joshua F. (@joosh_feeks) November 9, 2016
Leeks is a 6-foot, 167-pound all-purpose back/receiver, ranked No. 289 nationally in 2018.
He currently holds six offers, including Tennessee, Houston and SMU.