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.
Two weeks ago, Tennessee hosted an impressive crop of prospects for its crazy comeback win over Florida.
Well, the visitor list for this weekend’s marquee matchup against rival Alabama should be even more star-studded.
I’ll have a final tally on Friday, but today is a good opportunity to set the table for what could be a game-changing weekend for the Volunteers’ 2017 recruiting class.
5-stars in the house?
Let’s start with the most important visitors first.
Top-50 cornerback Lamont Wade of Clairton (Pa.) High will venture to Tennessee for the third time this season.
The Volunteers will undoubtably roll out the orange carpet for the 5-star prospect, as Wade’s official visit will be his final chance to see Tennessee up close before he makes a decision on Dec. 17.
It’s readily apparent why Tennessee covets the dynamic athlete.
— Jesse Re Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) October 8, 2016
The Volunteers can sell immediate playing time to Wade and they have some real momentum in his recruitment, but can they hold off Pittsburgh or Penn State down the stretch?
Meanwhile, 5-star tailback Cam Akers (Clinton, Miss.) plans to be in attendance, too. Akers is among the most highly sought-after recruits in the country, and Tennessee is still trying to make serious inroads with the electric running back.
If Akers makes the trip, will the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect unofficially visit or turn his trip into an official one?
Finally, Tennessee’s top target Trey Smith, a 5-star in-state offensive tackle from University School in Jackson, will see the Volunteers for the fourth time since August. Another solid showing could effectively lock down the blue-chip prospect before he makes a public decision in early December.
Other official visitors
• Columbus (Fla.) cornerback Christopher Henderson. The 4-star cornerback recently de-commmited from Miami. The 6-foot, 174-pound prospect is considered a strong Florida lean, per SEC Country’s Zach Abolverdi, but the Vols will have an opportunity to make an impression nonetheless.
• Trinity Christian (Fla.) wideout D.J. Matthews. The 4-star receiver is a Florida State commit, but Matthews has expressed interest in Tennessee on Twitter and will visit Knoxville for the first time.
official to Tennessee Is set?? #Vols ✊
— Rip Coby.. (@dat_dj) September 15, 2016
Commits making the trip
A ton of Tennessee commits will make the trip, too, including a bunch who haven’t seen the Volunteers live yet in 2016.
Aside from the usual suspects (5-star recruit Cade Mays, 4-star target Alontae Taylor, 4-star prospect Maleik Gray, among others), 2017 commits Jaquan Henderson (Newton, Ga.), Terrell Bailey (John Ehret, La.), CJ Cotman (Clearwater Central Catholic, Fla.), Jacquez Jones (Clearwater, Fla.) and Breyon and Brandon Gaddy (Bishop Sullivan Catholic, Va.) all plan to be in attendance.
Keep an eye on …
A few noteworthy names to monitor this week. Will these prospects visit on Saturday?
• 2017 LSU commit Saahdiq Charles
• 2017 top-100 defensive end LaBryan Ray
• 2018 Georgia quarterback Justin Fields
• 2018 4-star Texas receiver Joshua Moore