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 pursuing an important in-state prospect.
Rebuilding the defense
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee will need to upgrade its linebackers quickly to play the type of defense coach Jeremy Pruitt plans to implement. Nashville native Kane Patterson has been targeted as a possible answer to this problem.
The 4-star linebacker received an offer from Tennessee on Feb. 27. It came after the first round of offers the new coaching staff sent out, but this doesn’t really bother Patterson.
Patterson ranks as the No. 13 outside linebacker and the seventh-best prospect from the Volunteer State in the Class of 2019, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
“I hear from them about weekly,” Patterson told SEC Country. “I hear from Coach [Terry] Fair. That was exciting because it was the home state school. That was exciting to come through. I know it came a little later, but it doesn’t bother me, and I feel like they were just getting a lot of stuff back together and reboot the program again with Coach Pruitt being there now.
“I didn’t expect anything to be right off the bat. They are just starting to get settled in.”
The linebacker position is the most important spot in Pruitt’s 3-4 defense. The defense needs the linebackers to control the field sideline to sideline.
The 6-foot-1, 222-pound Patterson believes he has the ability necessary to perform the role.
“I always have had a good instinct for what the offense is doing,” Patterson said. “Kind of like knowing where the ball is going to be headed. Whether it’s thrown or the running back is trying to pick a hole. Just visualizing and vision across the field.
“Also, I feel like I’ve been a hard hitter my whole life.”
Patterson is planning on coming to Rocky Top on March 24 to see what the new staff has to offer. He wants to bring his whole family on the trip to Knoxville because it’s so close.
This might be the coaching staff’s final chance to impress Patterson. He is making the visit in the spring to see if he wants to visit again in the summer. Then, he’ll ultimately choose his five official visits for the fall.
Tennessee needs to show Patterson he is wanted in the program and “isn’t just some guy.” Ohio State, Texas A&M, LSU, Ole Miss, Alabama and Northwestern are recruiting him harder than the Vols right now.
But this upcoming visit can catapult the Vols closer to the top. Tennessee will have to step up its recruiting efforts just a little bit to catch up, though.
“Just investing,” Patterson said. “Like with the schools that talk to me a lot, it impacts me a lot. It shows they want me to go school there. I think staying in contact more and building a better relationship. I’m hearing from other schools more and they are building more of a relationship.”
Tennessee does have the advantage of being the state school that can help in the recruitment.
“My dad and I talk about this, actually,” Patterson said. “Tennessee is a place where you know so many people that running out in front of your peers and friends, even at away games, it’d be a cool feeling.”
It seems like the Vols are within striking distance but need to get more serious with their pursuit of Patterson. Losing an in-state talent like this for failing to recruit him as hard as Ohio State or LSU isn’t a great look.
Tennessee whiffed on cornerback prospects in the Class of 2018. This is probably the biggest position of need in the next two recruiting cycles.
The Vols impressed the Class of 2020’s Trenton Yowe, a Calbera, Ala., native, on an unofficial visit during the weekend.
Had a great time at The University Of Tennessee 🍊 pic.twitter.com/eslZGVUu7X
— Trenton Alan Yowe (@offical_tay6) March 18, 2018
The 4-star prospect is a 6-2, 170 prospect who has the body type Pruitt values at cornerback on his defense.
This coaching staff has a lot of ties to the state of Alabama, so expect it to be a priority area for the Vols.
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