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 recruiting players on the offensive line.
Neck injuries end Jack Jones’ career
Tennessee coach Butch Jones had some bad news regarding the football team Monday: Guard Jack Jones will no longer play football because of neck injuries.
Jones was a junior and played off-and-on this season.
The Vols start three seniors on the offensive line Saturday against Alabama in Jashon Robertson, Brett Kendrick and Coleman Thomas. Sophomore Venzel Boulware left the team earlier this season.
All of this adds up to the Class of 2018 being a very important class with the offensive line.
Jones said Monday he thinks it might be the most important position the Vols have to recruit this cycle.
“The offensive line recruiting is paramount for this program,” Jones said. “It’s great in terms of the recruiting because individuals are going to have an opportunity to come in here and compete to play early and play right away.”
The graduation of starters and unexpected attrition have put the Vols in a tough place.
“So, obviously that recruiting is important because of our lack of numbers and lack of depth right now,” Jones said. “There are tremendous opportunities for individuals right now to come to Tennessee.”
Who has Tennessee recruiting been recruiting to fill the void on the offensive line?
This has been Tennessee’s longest commitment in the Class of 2018. Cade Mays grew up a Vols fan and helped recruit a lot of the in-state talent, too.
His commitment has come into question recently, though.
Mays has recently begun talking with other schools about the possibility of committing elsewhere. Alabama and Clemson have joined in on the conversation.
I believe Clemson is the only school with a chance to land Mays other than Tennessee. Though, I still think Tennessee is where Mays will ultimately end up.
It is easy to imagine what a talent with the size of May (6-foot-6, 318-pounds) can do on the offensive line. If he plays tackle next season for the Vols he could line up next to current freshman Trey Smith (6-6, 320). The pair could become one of the most fearsome run-blocking tandems in college football.
Ollie Lane committed to the Vols in April. He likely has a future with Tennessee as either a guard or center.
The 6-6, 280-pound 3-star prospect plays for Gibbs (Corryton, Tenn.) High School and grew up a Vols fan. Lane seems solidly committed to Tennessee at this point.
Lane might not factor into the immediate plans on the offensive line, but he could develop into a solid player down the road.
Tennessee’s other offensive line commit. Tanner Antonutti played tackle and tight end for Ensworth (Nashville, Tenn.) High School. His senior season he has played strictly at tackle, though, and this is where Tennessee wants him to play at the next level.
The 6-5 Antonutti will have to come in and immediately put on more size. He weighs 260 pounds right now. Think of him as a similar case of current tackle Marcus Tatum. A very athletic player who must add more size and strength before making an impact on the line.
The Vols have long been pursuing the 3-star tackle from Cordova, Tenn. Carvin won’t name any favorites in his recruitment, but he says Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi State and Arkansas are all in the mix.
Alabama likely won’t have the room to take on Carvin, though, so Tennessee and Mississippi State seem to be the likeliest options at this point.
The Vols coaching staff is recruiting the 6-4, 300-pound Carvin as a right tackle at the moment, though he could end up playing guard at the next level.
Alabama had recruited him as a guard before pulling off their pursuit.
An important factor in Carvin’s recruitment is the possibility of early playing time.
Tennessee offered junior college lineman Jahmir Johnson on Oct. 12. Johnson (6-6, 290) could be a viable option to help build some instant depth on the line.
Tennessee planned on bringing aboard one more lineman along with the three commits. With Jones’ departure, the Vols might bring another along.
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