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 former Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor and some visits this past weekend.
Tennessee not out of it yet
One of the hottest names on the recruiting trail the past few months has been Alontae Taylor. He de-committed from Tennessee a week ago after coach Butch Jones was fired.
He announced his top 5 schools: Louisville, Georgia, Alabama, Wake Forest and Georgia Tech.
This was a bad look for the Vols’ chances to land Taylor, but Tennessee fans shouldn’t give up hope yet.
Taylor told Woody Wommack of Rivals the Vols aren’t completely out of the picture.
“Tennessee could most definitely get back in it,” Taylor said. “I didn’t speak much on them, but depending on the hire, Tennessee could get back in the mix and them just being the home state team helps them a lot.”
It sounds like the Vols’ chances will hinge on the new coach. Taylor values relationships almost above anything else. The new coach will have a short amount of time to establish a relationship with him. Taylor plans to make his final decision during the early signing period at noon Dec. 22.
Tennessee’s supposed interest in Jon Gruden has caught Taylor’s attention.
“I know Gruden is a smart quarterback mindset guy,” Taylor said. “So, I hope if he was the guy they hired, he would bring the spread or air raid-type offense.”
Other schools in running
Tennessee has some stiff SEC competition it’ll have to move past for Taylor’s commitment.
“UGA is my leading school. I like everything coach [Kirby] Smart is doing,” Taylor said. “I love how coach [Jim] Chaney is putting the ball in playmakers’ hands, and I love how they are recruiting me as an athlete so I can have a chance to play both sides of the ball.”
Georgia has two wide receivers already committed so it might force Taylor to play defensive back. He is saying the right things about the proposition of playing defense.
Alabama would probably take Taylor as a cornerback as well.
“I like how they continue to ask what position I wanna play, but I know Alabama puts a lot of corners and safeties in the NFL,” Taylor said. “And that’s the end goal, to make it to the league, and Alabama is a very special place if you want to be great.”
Here’s the deal with Taylor. He played quarterback throughout high school. He likes to have the ball in his hands and score touchdowns.
I think if Tennessee’s new coach offered him a legitimate shot at wide receiver, then it would be very persuasive to Taylor. With the Vols not having another wide receiver commit at this point and how bad the unit has looked this season, Taylor could have plenty of opportunities to play early next season.
Visits over the weekend
Tennessee welcomed a couple of targets and commits to town over the weekend. The Vols have been kind of weary about receiving visitors from Class of 2018 targets right now, though. Instead, they are trying to convince them to visit in a few weeks when a coach is hired.
The Vols, however, did host an important target over the weekend. Defensive end Caleb Tannor made the trip to Knoxville just five days after de-committing from Georgia.
Tannor is a 4-star prospect and ranks as the No. 19 weakside defensive end in the class, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Tennessee commits Jamarcus Chatman, Michael Penix and Tanner Antonutti all made their way to Knoxville, too. Neither has said much publicly about their commitments, so this was a good sign for Tennessee.
Tennessee holds 17 commitments at this time. Any of the commits who stick with their pledges before meeting the new coach is a huge positive for the Vols.
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.