Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt hasn’t been on the job a full week, but he already has reworked a lot of the recruiting class.
The new coaching staff has widened the scope of prospects they are pursuing. There also has been a bump in the caliber of players, too.
The class is still taking shape and changes each day.
Here is Tennessee’s projected 2018 offensive recruiting class, with ratings according to 247Sports:
Adrian Martinez (Fresno, Calif.), 4 stars
Michael Penix (Tampa, Fla.), 3 stars
Both commits have been solid in their pledge for a long time, but have recently begun to look elsewhere.
Michael Penix picked up an offer from Flordia State, which is intriguing. The Seminoles hired Willie Taggart, who is known as a great recruiter. It’s possible Florida State sees Penix as a higher priority, and that could sway a commitment.
Adrian Martinez was the first offer made by new Nebraska coach Scott Frost. Martinez took an official visit to Lincoln, Neb., this past weekend. It’ll come down to the wire if Tennessee can hold on to Martinez.
As of right now, both probably will be on Rocky Top next season.
Running back (2)
Anthony Grant (Buford, Ga.), 3 stars
Jeremy Banks (Cordova, Tenn.), 3 stars
Anthony Grant has been committed since the summer, and he doesn’t seem like he’s going anywhere. He has talked about being committed to a school and not a coaching staff.
Grant is a solid prospect who can provide depth at running back next season. The Vols return three or four running backs ahead of Grant, so it’s not a total position of need.
The previous staff wanted to bring on two running backs for this cycle. Pruitt could get by with only Grant.
Jeremy Banks from Cordova, Tenn., is a name to watch, though. Pruitt is coming in very late, but Banks could be the other running back. Pruitt made an in-home visit to Banks Tuesday night and it is trending the Vols way.
Wide receivers (2)
Alontae Taylor (Manchester, Tenn.), 4 stars
Jacob Copeland (Pensacola, Fla.), 4 stars
Alontae Taylor was a longtime commit for the Vols but opened it up after Butch Jones was fired. He is trending back toward the Vols. In the East vs. West All-Star game last Friday, he wore Tennessee gloves and used a Tennessee towel.
Taylor had an official visit planned for Louisville this weekend, but he canceled the trip to come back to Knoxville again.
Taylor announced Wednesday he is committed to the Vols once again.
Jacob Copeland didn’t consider Tennessee much before Pruitt was hired, but the Vols shot up his list. He will be on campus this weekend for an official visit.
Alabama was the leader for Copeland after his de-commitment from Florida in late November. Pruitt recruited Copeland the hardest for the Crimson Tide. Copeland’s interest has followed Pruitt to Rocky Top.
The official visit this weekend will be telling.
Tight end (1)
Jacob Warren (Knoxville, Tenn.), 3 stars
Jacob Warren committed to Tennessee in May, and that’s unlikely to change. He’s a legacy commit who won’t look elsewhere.
The coaching staff is looking at bringing in another tight end at this time. No one has come to the forefront as a likely get at this point, though.
Offensive line (4)
Jerome Carvin (Cordova, Tenn.) 4 stars
Ollie Lane (Corryton, Tenn.), 3 stars
Tanner Antonutti (Nashville, Tenn.), 3 stars
Johncarlo Valentin (Brooklyn, NY), 3 stars
Tanner Antonutti and Ollie Lane have grown up Tennessee fans. They will remain committed to the Vols unless the coaching staff pulls their offers. As in-state prospects, I don’t know if that is likely to happen.
Jerome Carvin was a big target for the previous staff. Pruitt has picked up the same interest. Carvin told SEC Country he is impressed with the coaching staff Pruitt is putting together. It’s been a tough recruitment to read, but I think he’ll end up with the Vols.
Johncarlo Valentin received an offer from Tennessee this week. The junior college guard could provide immediate depth. From the sense I get, the Vols could muscle their way to a commitment.