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 Alontae Taylor and a successful first weekend for new coach Jeremy Pruitt.
Tennessee leading for Alontae Taylor?
Tennessee has possibly always been the low-key favorite to land one of the fastest-rising athletes in the country in Alontae Taylor. He had previously been committed to the Vols for more than a year before de-committing after coach Butch Jones was fired.
Taylor took his official visit to Knoxville, Tenn., this past weekend and new coach Jeremy Pruitt must have made quite an impression. Taylor has canceled his official visit to Louisville scheduled for next weekend. He will instead make his way to Knoxville once again.
RELATED: 2018 Tennessee recruiting big board
Taylor plans to make his college decision on Dec. 22, telling SEC Country it isn’t nerve-wracking at all. He actually has found a new leader, it appears.
“Most definitely not,” Taylor told SEC Country. “I’ve been praying to God and [it] helped me see the clear path. So, my decision is coming to an end and I’m kind of figuring out things. I kind of have an idea of where I want to go now.”
Taylor also wore Tennessee gloves and used a Tennessee towel in the East vs. West All-Star Classic on Friday night in Clarksville, Tenn.
The canceled visit to Louisville for another trip to Knoxville means the Vols are in prime position to bring Taylor back into the fold. He’s a terrific athlete who could find many different spots to contribute. For Tennessee, that position is likely wide receiver.
I’ve used this space for the past month or so to write that Taylor will go where he feels he’ll get the ball most on offense. He’ll say the right things in interviews about playing the position his future coaching staff sees best. It’s clear, though, he wants to score touchdowns. Taylor would love to play quarterback in college; it’s why Louisville made his top 3. But he’s also realistic. His best shot at the NFL is at wide receiver or corner.
Pruitt might wait until Taylor is on campus to ultimately decide where he’ll play. With the lack of production and depth at wide receiver this season, Taylor could easily have a shot at early playing time at wideout.
Picking up steam with Jacob Copeland
Tennessee immediately shot up the interest list for wide receiver Jacob Copeland when Pruitt was hired. Pruitt was the lead recruiter for Copeland while he was at Alabama.
The Vols appear to be within striking distance of getting the wide receiver, too. Copeland has a tremendous amount of respect for Pruitt and that’s why his interest in the Vols has skyrocketed in the past few days.
Copeland will take his official visit to Knoxville this coming weekend. This is a major swing for Pruitt and could be his first big-time get as a head coach.
Copeland rates as the No. 9 wide receiver in the Class of 2018 and the No. 53 prospect, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
He would be the best or second-best wide receiver for the Vols next season depending on whether Jauan Jennings is reinstated. Even if Jennings comes back into the picture, Copeland might still be the best.
Copeland’s visit will be the most interesting to watch next weekend.
Solid first official visit weekend
Pruitt hasn’t been on campus for more than a few days. He doesn’t have a full staff in place, but his first official visit weekend would have to be deemed a success.
It was a low-risk group that came to campus. Most of the prospects had been committed for months and never looked elsewhere during the coaching search. They were going to come to Tennessee regardless of who was leading the team.
Taylor was the biggest unknown and it appears Pruitt knocked that one out of the park.
Defensive end Greg Emerson has never shown any sign of wavering. He’s the top committed prospect, though, so a good first impression was important.
— Greg Emerson/G.mamba (@sneakerhad_greg) December 10, 2017
Emerson is coming to Tennessee, and Pruitt doesn’t have to worry about it at all.
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