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.
Does a Perfect 10 for Ohio State = win for Tennessee, too?
A pair of 5-star studs committed to the Buckeyes on Monday, as receivers Trevon Grimes (St. Thomas Aquinas, Fla.) and Tyjon Lindsey (Las Vegas Bishop Gorman) announced their decisions together in a video with Bleacher Report.
OK, cool, right? But how does that impact Tennessee?
Well … the domino effect of Grimes and Lindsey committing to OSU potentially leaves 4-star wideout Jaylen Harris without a spot in the Buckeyes loaded Class of 2017.
Things could change, obviously, but since Ohio State’s numbers are tight, Jaylen Harris could be just the blue-chip receiver Butch Jones is looking for this fall.
The Volunteers would like to add one more receiver to their 2017 class, pairing a star prospect with commits Princeton Fant, Jacquez Jones and Jordan Murphy. Harris certainly fits the bill. At 6-foot-5, 210-pounds, the Cleveland Heights High (Ohio) standout has a rare blend of size and speed.
Just check out the tape.
Harris visited Tennessee in late July and recently named the Vols among his Top 5 schools.
Truly Blessed, final 5? pic.twitter.com/DF4WjumByt
— Jaylen Harris (@JHarris5_) August 4, 2016
He brought his parents on his latest trip to UT, and if OSU truly is out of the picture, it could be a Tennessee vs. Michigan State showdown at the end. Harris plans to take an official visit to Knoxville this fall, providing Tennessee another opportunity to impress the Top-200 receiver.
With Tee Higgins going to Clemson and Jeremiah Holloman looking like a tough pull out of Georgia, Harris currently is Tennessee’s top tangible target at wideout.
Now the Vols just have to seal the deal.
Tennessee commit, priority targets climb in rankings
Rivals.com released its latest Top 100 Monday, and Tennessee safety commit Maleik Gray, a 4-star prospect from LaVergne High, rose 27 spots.
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound defensive back ranks No. 77 overall in the Class of 2017 now, with Rivals Southeast recruiting analyst Woody Wommack saying, “Gray has always been in and around the Rivals100 and now that he’s shifted his focus to playing safety full-time, he’s seen his game grow. He’s a pure athlete who has the type of gifts you just can’t coach and is still developing as a defensive back.”
Gray flashed his athleticism at The Opening Finals over the summer and remains Tennessee’s highest-ranked commit.
Meanwhile, the Volunteers top-rated target Trey Smith, an offensive tackle at University School in Jackson, Tenn., jumped more than 150 spots in Rivals’ latest rankings. Smith actually isESPN’s No. 1 overall prospect, but the 6-foot-4, 270-pound offensive tackle is ranked No. 91 overall by Rivals.
Wommack wrote, “Smith had a solid showing at The Opening in July and is clearly still adjusting to playing against high quality competition. But his physical skills and raw talent make him an intriguing prospect. Smith is considering Notre Dame, Tennessee, Alabama and others.”
Smith remains Tennessee’s most important remaining recruit in the Class of 2017, as in-state stud could be UT’s left tackle of the future.
The crown jewel of UT’s class could be electric playmaker Cam Akers (Clinton High, Miss.), who received his fifth star by Rivals. The now-consensus 5-star tailback scored 5 touchdowns on 431 total yards in his season-opener Thursday. The tailback is among the most coveted prospects in the nation, with Tennessee still in Akers’ top group.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com