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We’re one week away from National Signing Day.
It’s been a wild sprint over the last two months for Tennessee.
After 3-star wideout Joshua Palmer committed to the Vols on Tuesday night, Tennessee’s recruiting class is up to 28 pledges for 2017.
The Vols have flirted around 26-28 commits since the New Year. Can they really add anymore though? Will there be further attrition?
Here are three questions for Tennessee with National Signing Day right around the corner.
1. Could Tennessee’s recruiting class done?
It might be.
The Vols are certainly still beating the doors on defensive linemen LaBryan Ray, Aaron Sterling and Elijah Conliffe, but it wouldn’t be a shock if they went 0-for-3 here.
While Tennessee is a contender for all three prospects, Ray appears destined for Alabama and Sterling has long been a South Carolina lean. The Tucker (Ga.) standout will visit the Gamecocks this weekend. Ray will trip to Florida.
Conliffe, a 4-star defensive tackle from Hampton (Va.), is trending Tennessee’s way, but UF and Penn State are lurking and he has another visit planned for this weekend, too.
Right now, I believe Conliffe will be the final piece of the 2017 class, but he won’t make a decision until Jan. 31, so who knows?
Although other targets like Travis Etienne, JaVonta Payton and Jordan Pouncey are still out there, by adding Palmer and tailback Timothy Jordan on consecutive days, I don’t see the Vols making a play for another skill-position guy unless…
2. Will Tennessee have more attrition?
The Vols lead the nation with 13 decommitments in the 2017 cycle.
All the situations were different, but that’s a ton of movement no matter what the circumstances were.
Could there be more attrition?
Most of the Vols 28 commits are solid, mainly because so many have joined the fold in recent weeks. Since Dec. 6 — the day 5-star offensive tackle Trey Smith committed to UT — the Vols have added eight verbal pledges.
Only a few commits are still looking around, with wideout Jordan Murphy possibly visiting Ole Miss and 4-star safety Maleik Gray continuing to hear from Florida State.
Gray is likely UT bound, but Murphy could be one to watch. Losing the talented Hattiesburg (Miss.) wideout would be a major blow to the 2017 class.
Finally, 3-star receiver Jacquez Jones will visit Central Florida this weekend. The Clearwater (Fla.) standout insists he’s “110 percent committed” to Tennessee, but a visit right before signing day is certainly something to monitor.
I’ve been asked many times “processing” or “upgrading” at other spots. Well, cutting a guy — especially any longtime commits — this late in the game would cause some serious blowback for Butch Jones and his staff. It certainly happens everywhere, but the program has to be prepared to take the PR hit that’ll come with it.
3. Will the Vols finish with a Top-10 class?
A couple surprises (adding both Ray and Conliffe) could change that, but that seems unlikely at this point.
Tennessee has flirted around the Top-10 for much of the cycle, but with other schools poised for flashier finishes on Wednesday, it seems like the Vols will close around 11-13 nationally.
That’s solid, but that would be good for the 6th-best class in the SEC.
To beat the Joneses you have to keep up with the Joneses. The Vols must get back into the Top 10 in 2018.
Follow me on Twitter @JesseReSimonton
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