Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss Tennessee wide receiver commit and how he is dealing with coach Butch Jones’ job security rumors.
What should a recruit do?
When the coach a recruit committed to play for might not be there next season, what is the right move for the prospect?
That’s the situation 22 Tennessee Class of 2018 commits find themselves in right now. Coach Butch Jones has led the Vols to a 3-3 record, with all three losses coming from SEC opponents, and the heat is on.
Two commits, Jatavious Harris and Brendon Harris, have re-opened their recruitment, but claim to be committed to the Vols. Tennessee has backed off of communication from Jatavious Harris, so he might not have the Vols as an option too much longer.
Commits Adrian Martinez and Greg Emerson have both talked about the Vols building something, and it isn’t time to jump ship.
Most of the prospects, though, are waiting to see what happens. Some are lining up backup options, just in case.
“To be honest, I’m still committed to Tennessee, but I am definitely looking at other options due to, uh, certain situations at Tennessee,” Jacques-Louis said.
As much as it might upset fans, prospects commit most of the time to coaches, not schools. When the coach leaves, it changes everything about the commitment.
“Coach Jones, I love him to death, but I’d be a fool to go there and he’ll just end up missing, ya know?” Jacques-Louis said.
Tennessee has a positive going for it even if Jones is fired in Jacques-Louis’ commitment. His former teammate, Shanon Reid, is a freshman for the Vols now.
“I talk to Shanon all the time,” he said. “He’s one of the major reasons I want to go to Tennessee.”
The visits for Jacques-Louis will be telling in his recruitment. He has taken an official visit to Michigan already.
“Michigan was lovely,” he said of his recent visit. “I didn’t know it was a committable offer, but Coach [Jim] Harbaugh made it very sure that it was a committable offer. I had plenty of fun, and Coach Harbaugh is a really cool dude.”
Where Jacques-Louis most likely will end up is Kentucky, if it isn’t on Rocky Top. He was previously committed to the Wildcats before de-committing over the summer.
“I’ve always loved Kentucky because they’re the first ones that seen me,” he said. “I went up there, it was still that same love. That’s why I have to show them that respect and keep them in the mix because they’ve always kept me in the mix.”
Jacques-Louis plans to visit Pitt and Missouri later this fall, too.
Tennessee has struggled with depth this season at the wide receiver position. It could use an influx of talent quickly at the position.
The 6-foot-1, 175-pound speedster rates as a 3-star prospect and ranks as the No. 95 wide receiver in the class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
It makes sense that commits want to be sure they are making the right decision. This is, after all, the biggest choice they have made to this point in their life.
A wrong decision can lead to some rough outcomes.
“No, because I talked to multiple people about their situation, how they went to college and thought the coach was going to be there, and the whole thing flipped on them, and they were left playing on the bench, trying to be a practice hero,” Jacques-Louis said.
It’s tough because there isn’t a right or wrong way to go about it, either.
Jacques-Louis wants to make sure he has something lined up if matters continue to go south in Knoxville. Wide receiver commit Alontae Taylor is doing something very similar.
Tennessee might be scrambling with the Vols backing away from wide receiver Jatavious Harris, too. Harris, Taylor and Jacques-Louis represent the wide receivers commits in the Class of 2018. That might change quickly over the next few weeks.
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