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.
A range of topics on the menu today.
I do this every Thursday, so please submit any questions for future mailbags on Twitter (@JesseReSimonton), email (firstname.lastname@example.org), in the comment section below or on our Tennessee Insiders Facebook page.
Let’s get to it.
David (and others) asks: What’s your read on Justin Fields? We looking good for him?
Tricky question, honestly.
Tennessee remains in good standing with the talented duel-threat quarterback from Harrison (Ga.), but Fields’ recruitment might just be getting started after a flurry of offers in recent weeks.
After missing out on 5-stars Trevor Lawerence and Emory Jones, the Volunteers have certainly prioritized the 2018 prospect.
But other programs have as well lately.
Fields has had an outstanding junior season thus far, and he continues to climb in the recruiting rankings. I won’t be surprised if the quarterback is a consensus 4-star prospect in the near future.
Before his barnstorming tour in September, Fields hoped to make a decision sometime in October. If — and that’s a big if — he were to stick with that timeline then Tennessee would be considered the frontrunner.
However, with recent offers from Louisville, Ole Miss and others, as well as renewed interest by Georgia and Clemson — i.e., whoever is the loser in the Lawerence sweepstakes — Fields’ decision could be delayed for sometime.
Shelly asks: Bigger target – Akers or Hollman?
Well Cam Akers, the Hattiesburg (Miss.) High standout, is the nation’s No. 8 overall prospect in the 2017 class. The 5-foot-11, 213-pound tailback is dynamic and among the most talented recruits in the country.
But with the Volunteers already landing two tailback commits (4-star Ty Chandler, 3-star Trey Coleman), snagging Akers (a difficult proposition nonetheless considering his list of suitors) would be a cherry on top for Tennessee at this point.
I actually think Newton (Ga.) wideout Jeremiah Holloman is the more important target right now for Tennessee — solely of need. Tennessee has a trio of receiver commits but none are game-changers. The Vols really needs to land a blue-chip receiver and Holloman certainly fits the bill.
The Peach State product dominated at The Opening Finals this summer, flashing his elite explosiveness. Holloman has the size (6-2, 195) and speed (under 4.5) to play immediately in college. The U.S. Army All-American is the best receiver remaining on Tennessee’s board, too, and the Vols are in for a dogfight to try and steal him away from Georgia.
Kyle asks: Are the Vols looking at Omari ‘Big O’ Thomas from Memphis? Beast of a freshman. Need to pursue early.
Not familiar with ‘Big O,’ Kyle. I see that he’s huge for a freshman — 6-foot-4, 270-pounds — and is a mauler at offensive and defensive tackle.
I’ll ask around about the Briarcrest Christian High product.
Here’s his highlight tape for those curious. Kid delivers a mean block on an interception return.
Keith asks: Does Tennessee have any chance of getting Tee Higgins, the 5-star wide receiver from Oak Ridge to decommit from Clemson?
Ah, a good ole Tee Higgins question. I figured these would start showing up in my inbox again once the Vols had a hot start in 2016.
Still, the answer remains the same: the Vols are the longest of long-shots to flip Higgins.
Sure, Tennessee won’t stop recruiting Higgins (whatever that really means at this point), but the 5-star wideout is locked into Clemson. He’s close with Tigers commits Amari Rodgers, AJ Terrell and others and he likes the offense more at Clemson.
Unless something drastically changes in the next five months, a flip remains a pipedream.
Ryan asks: I saw Justin Foster is committing Friday. Tennessee or Clemson?
Clemson has trended with the 4-star linebacker for months, as the Volunteers have long wondered if Foster was a schematic fit. The Shelby (N.C.) linebacker once considered Tennessee his leader, but things changed over the summer and all signs have pointed to Clemson since then.
The nation’s No. 6 outside linebacker hasn’t visited Tennessee in months, while he’s tripped to Death Valley multiple times since the summer — including taking in the Tigers’ wild win over Louisville last weekend.
Thanks for the questions this week y’all.