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.
Last week, 2018 offensive guard Emil Ekiyor Jr. tripped to Tennessee and had “an amazing experience” taking in the 38-28 drubbing over Florida.
— Emil Nabo Ekiyor (@eekiyor) September 24, 2016
The 4-star Indianapolis native is close friends with Volunteers 5-star commit Cade Mays and long considered UT among his top schools.
Ekiyor committed to Michigan on Sunday.
— Emil Ekiyor Jr. (@bigE__18) October 3, 2016
The Wolverines were the first school to offer Ekiyor, who holds close to 30 scholarships now. The 6-foot-2, 322-pound junior is high upside prospect, hailing from a Big 10 stronghold. With agile feet and a powerful frame, Ekiyor is perfect for a ground-and-pound attack.
But don’t count out Tennessee just yet.
Ekiyor, who visited the Big House for the first time Saturday against Wisconsin, has been enamored with Tennessee for more than a year. The Top-150 prospect has visited Knoxville four times in the last 14 months, developing a real relationship with Mays and several staff members.
Just a week ago, Steve Wiltfong, the director of recruiting for 247Sports, called Tennessee “the early favorite” for Ekiyor.
Obviously something changed. A visit high? A first true love? I’ve tried to get in touch with Ekiyor without any luck.
I’ll keep trying, but I also know Tennessee will continue to aggressively recruit the highly-touted offensive lineman.
Mays said Ekiyor is “a big priority,” and similarly with 5-star Penn State commit Micah Parsons, UT’s headline recruiter isn’t going to give up on a friend that easy.
mi familia❤️ pic.twitter.com/Sy3sDt7UJI
— Cade Mays (@_mayc2) September 25, 2016
The Volunteers have another connection with Ekiyor, too, as secondary assistant Willie Martinez coached Ekiyor’s dad, Emil Sr., at Central Florida in the mid-1990’s.
2018 National Signing Day is a long ways off. Michigan has already suffered a trio of decommitments in its junior class. I don’t know if Ekiyor will add his name to the list, but I’m positive Tennessee still covets the talented lineman.
Here were five standout performances by Tennessee commits over the weekend.
* 4-star tailback Ty Chandler. The Volunteers highest-rated recruit continues to dominate his competition, rushing for 203 yards and 4 touchdowns against Pop John Paul II. The Montgomery Bell Academy star now has 25 touchdowns on the season.
* 3-star linebacker Mo Burnam. Tennessee’s first commit in its 2017 class had an impressive showing in a defensive struggle. In Salem’s 6-0 victory, Burnam wrecked havoc in the backfield, recording 8 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, a sack and multiple quarterback hurries from his outside linebacker position.
* 3-star receiver Jordan Murphy. The Hattiesburg (Miss.) High product hauled in 2 touchdowns and 79 yards in a big win Friday. The senior wideout now has 11 touchdowns on the year and has found the end zone at least twice for four straight games.
* 3-star athlete commit Theo Jackson. The future Tennessee defensive back showcased his two-way talents against Mt. Juliet, recording 7 tackles and catching 7 passes for 147 yards and a touchdown. Jackson added some serious yardage on punt and kickoff returns, too.
* 3-star wideout Jacques Jones. The Clearwater High standout caught 7 balls for 87 yards and a touchdown. He also had several explosive runs, totaling 60 yards.