Jeremy Pruitt currently has Tennessee sitting with a top-20 recruiting class as the dead period approaches on Sunday. But before that midnight deadline could come to pass, the Vols squeezed in one more commitment.
Jalil Clemons, a 3-star defensive end from Starkville (Miss.), announced his decision via Twitter on Sunday afternoon:
— ~8~ (@JalilClemons) June 24, 2018
The addition of Clemons marks Tennessee’s third commitment in the month of June — joining 4-star safety Anthony Harris and 3-star athlete Aaron Beasley. With only one other defensive lineman committed at this time, there’s no doubt Clemons is a welcomed addition by Pruitt and the rest of the coaching staff.
Clemons could pass as a diamond in the rough. He is only the No. 651 overall player and No. 43 strongside defensive end, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He also did not have an offer from either in-state SEC school.
Still, think about who Pruitt studied under. Alabama coach Nick Saban is known for pulling in elite recruiting classes, but he also has a knack for finding hidden gems. Former players such as defensive tackle Terrence Cody and safety Eddie Jackson were both 3-star prospects. If you dig even deeper, you’ll find walk-ons such as cornerback Levi Wallace, linebacker Jamey Mosley and safety Will Lowery.
One would have to think that Pruitt learned a thing or two under Saban. Either way, there’s a reason Tennessee wanted Clemons — especially this early in the process.