Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt has done a strong job on the recruiting trail in his first two months on the job.
The Vols’ 2018 class ranked in the 50s, behind teams including Cincinnati and Syracuse, when Pruitt took over.
The coaching staff has taken a couple of big swings at elite prospects. The Vols likely will come up short on a few, but there is still potential for a solid ending.
Here are some key prospects Tennessee should keep an eye on Wednesday.
4-star OLB Quay Walker (Cordele, Ga.) — Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia
Tennessee has a great shot at flipping longtime Alabama commit Quay Walker. The Crimson Tide lost coaches Pruitt (Tennessee) and Derrick Ansley (Oakland Raiders) this offseason. These coaches had great relationships with the 6-foot-4, 236-pound linebacker. Walker spent the weekend in Athens, Ga., on an official visit. This gives the Bulldogs a legitimate shot.
4-star CB Isaac Taylor-Stuart (San Diego) — Tennessee, USC, Alabama, Texas A&M
The Vols had the last official visit with Isaac Taylor-Stuart. He knows he is a top priority with this coaching staff because there is a big need for cornerbacks this cycle. Pruitt’s area of expertise is coaching cornerbacks, which should help the Vols. I like where Tennessee stands with the 6-2, 187-pound cornerback. It’ll be either USC or the Vols.
5-star CB Olaijah Griffin (Mission Viejo, Calif.) — Tennessee, USC
If National Signing Day was on Jan. 7 instead of Feb. 7, I think the Vols could have landed Griffin. The 6-foot, 170-pound corner, however, has been trending toward USC for the past few weeks. It’s tough to close out prospects from Southern California against USC. There is clearly a need for Griffin. There’s a chance but not a great one.
4-star WR Jacob Copeland (Pensacola, Fla.) — Tennessee, Florida, Alabama
The Vols shot to near the top of Jacob Copeland’s list after Pruitt’s hire. The Vols got Copeland on campus on Dec. 15, and things seemed pretty good. But Florida and Alabama have closed well. I don’t think there is much of a chance for the Vols here.
4-star DT Emmit Gooden (Brownsville, Tenn.) — Tennessee, West Virginia, Arkansas
There is real concern about Emmit Gooden’s grades. He had to go the junior college route two years ago because of it. I think he wants to be on Rocky Top. If the coaching staff gives him the green light, then he’ll be here. West Virginia is the next likeliest option for the 6-4, 295-pound defensive tackle.
3-star DT Otito Ogbonnia (Katy, Texas) — Texas Tech, Nebraska, Texas Tech
I think either Gooden or Otito Ogbonnia end up signing with the Vols. Since I predicted Gooden to Rocky Top, then Ogbonnia will go elsewhere. Getting the 6-3, 300-pound lineman to leave Texas has been a tough task to this point.
Prediction: Texas Tech
3-star TE Glenn Beal (New Orleans) — Tennessee, Texas A&M, LSU
The Vols already have two tight end signees this class in Jacob Warren and Dominick Wood-Anderson. The coaching staff clearly wants to add Glenn Beal, who is a terrific blocking tight end. He projects to fit in well with the new pro-style offense next season. Watch out for LSU on this one. The Tigers might not have room at the moment, but if they strike out on some prospects, they will call on Beal. LSU is where I believe he wants to go. Texas A&M is also a threat to land Beal.
3-star WR Jordan Young (Conyers, Ga.) — Tennessee, Florida State
Jordan Young is one of the most interesting stories of the recruiting cycle. He has risen from almost complete obscurity thanks to an offer from Tennessee a little over two weeks ago. Florida State has recently put the full-court press on the 6-2, 185-pound wideout. He took an official visit to Tallahassee, Fla., during the weekend. I went a little deeper into Young’s recruitment towards the end of my notebook on Monday. This is a hard one to predict because I don’t think Young even knows at this point. Plenty can change leading up to Wednesday.
Prediction: Florida State
3-star RB Anthony Grant (Buford, Ga.) — Tennessee, Florida State, Virginia Tech, North Carolina
Anthony Grant, a longtime Tennessee commit, has been looking elsewhere the last few months. He held firm with the Vols through the coaching change and has expressed interest in playing for the team. There has just been a disconnect between the new staff and Grant. That is interesting because the one coach who remained from the previous staff is running backs coach Robert Gillespie.
Prediction: Florida State