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 and a junior college linebacker being impressed by his visit to Rocky Top.
Leading for Lakia Henry
When linebacker Lakia Henry went through the recruiting process in high school he didn’t receive any major college offers. Therefore, he never took a visit to any schools such as Tennessee.
Now he’s one of the best junior college linebackers in the Class of 2019 and finished his visit this weekend with Tennessee. The Vols were in a good spot heading into the weekend, and they only moved into a better spot after.
“They are leading right now, just because they were the first school I went and visited,” Henry told SEC Country. “You know what it’s always going to be like when you go and visit a new school and see the facilities, coaches and stadium. It’s just going to catch your eye. Tennessee is No. 1 right now for sure. Then Ole Miss, Nebraska, Texas A&M and Texas are next.
“It was crazy. I had really high expectations, but Tennessee exceeded my expectations. It was nice. I liked it.”
Henry made it clear the gap might not last forever, though. He’s traveling to Ole Miss this weekend and possibly Nebraska the week after.
“I just have to really connect with the coaching staff,” Henry said. “They’ll all be similar after I visit them. They are all great schools. It’s going to be about the connection and how my mom feels about the place. All of those things.”
Henry said he thinks the novelty of the visit will wear off when he sees some other Power 5 schools. Henry has told SEC Country in the past that the size of the school and facilities don’t matter too much. It’s going to come down to where he has the best relationships and can make an early impact on the field.
Tennessee is thin at the linebacker position and there should be a clear path to playing time. That’s going to continue being a big bonus for the Volunteers moving forward.
He gets along well with the Tennessee staff and has a high opinion of coach Jeremy Pruitt and defensive coordinator Kevin Sherrer. The coaching staff’s message has resonated with Henry.
“That it is really important for me to graduate,” Henry said. “They want me to keep my grades up at Dodge [City Community College in Kansas]. They said if I do come to Tennessee, they are going to be real hard on me about graduating and getting my degree.”
I don’t believe this is lip service from the coaching staff. I think they place a high value on getting a degree. This has helped the Vols stand out even more to Henry.
“It really does,” Henry said. “I’ve never really struggled on the football field. I struggled with class out of high school, though and sometimes in college. That’s real refreshing that they care about academics first.”
Tennessee fans won’t have to wait too much longer for a decision from the highly touted linebacker. Expect one to come this summer.
“I think I’m going to see a handful of schools, then make a decision,” Henry said. “All the schools that were recruiting me, they’ve backed off now. It’s just a certain handful of schools that still are trying to get me to visit. So, I’m just going to see them.
“I think I’m going to make my decision before the season begins.”
Tennessee has put the time and effort into recruiting Henry before many other schools, including Alabama. I believe the Vols are in a solid spot right now.
Lance Wilhoite and Woodi Washington win MVP
Tennessee has taken a slow approach to recruiting the Class of 2019 in-state prospects. The staff is much higher on the 2020 crop and believe those players better fit what the team is looking for right now.
However, 2019 wide receiver Lance Wilhoite and cornerback Woodi Washington impressed over the weekend. They came away with MVP honors at the Rivals Three Stripe Camp in Nashville.
The coaching staff wanted to see more on the football field from the two heading into the summer. I expect they’ll both camp at Tennessee in June, and it’ll be an excellent opportunity to show what they have been working on to the staff.
It’s an interesting situation. I think both prospects are high on the Volunteers, and solid appearances like this one over the weekend and a great camp showing could help change the staff’s mind.
Tennessee fans might get upset if these prospects sign with Power 5 schools elsewhere. The staff has a defined vision for what they want at every position, though. They will not comprise on what they are looking for either.
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