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 what Tennessee is doing to recruit Class of 2019 wide receiver Lance Wilhoite and offensive tackle Jerome Carvin taking an official visit to UCLA.
Lance Wilhoite gets pushed to stay home
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee’s 2017 season hasn’t gone according to plan. The Class of 2018 took a big hit when 5-star Cade Mays de-committed on Tuesday. The coaching staff is continuing to push forward though, and is recruiting the Class of 2019.
One of the Vols’ top targets in the Class of 2019 right now is Lance Wilhoite. He plays wide receiver for Franklin Road Academy in Nashville, Tenn.
The in-state connection is what coach Butch Jones has pushed the most to the junior playmaker.
“Coach Jones keeps preaching about being at home,” Wilhoite told SEC Country. “This year he says they are rebuilding because last year they had seniors and they went on to do big things in the NFL. Like Alvin Kamara, Derek Barnett and those guys. Barnett was a guy from in-state and so is Rashaan Gaulden. They were a big part of Tennessee’s defense and they helped us see the picture Jones was talking about — staying at home and really finding a fit for you.
“He tells us, Tennessee will care for us if we stay at home. They love us more because we are something that is produced in Tennessee.”
The Vols are one of the teams recruiting him the hardest, right now, along with Ohio State, Clemson, Louisville, N.C. State. He plans to take a trip to most of the schools over the summer.
Wilhoite has been up to Knoxville plenty of times, though. He knows the current and former players on the team and that stands out to him.
“Every time he talks about that, I sit down and think about it,” Wilhoite said. “It’s really real. When you go on recruiting trips, a lot of coaches say stuff just to get you to come to their school and do stuff like that. When you get there, it changes sometimes. I know at Tennessee, with him, the players say Jones really cares for them and the Tennessee team.”
Possible coaching change
The question Tennessee fans have been asking is how does Jones’ job security factor into recruiting. Most of the Class of 2018 is waiting to see what will happen, but are making backup plans, too.
The Class of 2019 has more time to sit back and see what is going to happen. Jones’ dismissal would alter things with Wilhoite.
“That’ll put me in a difficult spot,” Wilhoite said. “I’ve built a relationship with him and if he’s gone, I don’t know what Tennessee will be right now. So, it’ll be really hard. I know he’s really getting talked about with getting fired. Yeah, it’d be a game-changing, big difference if he got fired.”
If Jones were fired, the new coach would have plenty of time to build a relationship with Wilhoite. The coaching staff, of course, would be playing catch-up with the likes of stable recruiting staffs like Clemson and Ohio State.
The 6-foot-2, 185-pound rates as a 4-star wide receiver and the No. 3 prospect in the state, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Whether Jones is the coach or someone else, Wilhoite will remain a top target with his talent only three hours away from Neyland Stadium.
One of Tennessee’s top Class of 2018 targets since the summer is taking an official visit to the other side of the country.
Offensive tackle Jerome Carvin will be at UCLA this weekend. I don’t think he will end up at UCLA, but his movements became even more important after the Mays de-commitment.
Tennessee needs more at least one more commit on the offensive line this cycle. It would probably be best to take two.
The Vols have invested a lot of time into the recruitment of Carvin and losing him would be a bad look. He has been trending towards Mississippi State recently, but there is still time for the Vols to change his mind.
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