Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly mailbag, a question-and-answer forum between readers and Tennessee team and recruiting reporter Blake Morgan.
In this edition, we discuss the latest in the Jerome Carvin recruitment, other top players the Volunteers could reel in and if the Class of 2018 is quality over quantity.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Where is Jerome Carvin on UT’s board? Is it going to be a Miss State-UT battle and how do you see that shaking out? (@Ben_Hester72)
The Jerome Carvin recruitment turned into a Tennessee versus Alabama battle over the summer. Mississippi State came into the picture late, right before his planned announcement in the middle of August.
The Crimson Tide seem to be out of it and looking for other players on the offensive line at this point. If they miss out on some players, then they could come back into the mix.
If Carvin had committed on Aug. 16 as he originally planned, then I think Tennessee would have been the choice. His choice to delay his decision and take all five of his official visits makes it less of a slam dunk for the Vols. The longer the recruitment drags out, the more I would become afraid of Mississippi State.
Tennessee wants to take on one more offensive lineman in the Class of 2018, and Carvin makes the most sense. He is the top uncommitted player in the state of Tennessee, and he has held the Volunteers near the top of his list throughout most of his recruitment.
I think Carvin still ends up with Tennessee, but it’s not as much of a sure thing as some think.
’18 is going to be a very good class … know there is still some big fish uncommitted. Who else do you think we stand a good chance with? (Don Butcher – Facebook)
There are a few top-name players left that the Volunteers still have a shot to land.
Carvin, mentioned above, is an offensive lineman the Vols have been pursuing for some time.
One of the best outside linebackers in the country in Adam Anderson from Rome, Ga., and a player Tennessee would love to receive a commit from in the cycle. It doesn’t look likely at this stage, but as I’ve noted before, as long as defensive end Jamarcus Chatman remains committed then the Volunteers have a chance.
The two grew up together and have wanted to play football together in college since they were young. Chatman’s friendship gives Tennessee a shot, even if it looks like Georgia and Alabama are in the lead right now.
Another “big fish” Tennessee has pursued is outside linebacker Richard Jibunor.
Jibunor has said Auburn has the lead, but the Vols have held the No. 2 spot in his recruitment for a while.
Anything is possible when the recruitment is tight.
Those are some of the bigger names Tennessee has held steady with the last few months.
The 2018 class is getting a lot of attention. I was beginning to get worried about what would happen to the class if the season went south. Now I am wondering if it less quality than quantity. The service I looked at had the class at about 5th nationally but if you took the average score for our class we were much lower. Thoughts? (Jeff Person from Memphis, Tenn.)
The quantity is pretty great so far. Having 23 commitments in early September isn’t typical for most teams.
The quality isn’t lacking, though.
Offensive line commit Cade Mays is regarded as a top-10 player in the Class of 2018, regardless of where you look. Wide receiver Alontae Taylor and defensive end Greg Emerson participated in Nike’s The Opening over the summer with some of the best players in the country.
The defense has blue-chip commitments in the secondary from Brendon Harris, Trey Dean and Jaycee Horn. The defensive line has big-time commitments from Emerson, D’Andre Litaker and Brant Lawless.
My guess would be on the average there are a number of 3-star players dragging the number down. Other top schools don’t have those 3-star commits, yet, so their average is higher.
As the cycle continues to play out and schools strike out on top-tier players, they will take on more lower-rated players, thus lowering their averages, too.
This likely will be a top-10 class, and maybe a top-5 class, for Tennessee if coach Butch Jones can keep the big-name players from de-committing.
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