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. Today, we discuss the Vols’ pursuit of Class of 2019 Nashville-based Nigerian transfer Ani Izuchukwu.
NASHVILLE — Most recruits with major Division I offers have been playing football for most of their lives.
There are always exceptions, like 3-star Murfreesboro, Tenn., running back Master Teague III, who didn’t start playing football until later in his high school career. But then there are players like 4-star 2019 defensive end Ani Izuchukwu.
Izuchukwu never played football before enrolling at Davidson Academy in Nashville in 2015. Before that, he was a soccer player in his native country of Nigeria. Two years later, he’s one of the top players in the Class of 2019, ranking as the class’ No. 9 weakside defensive end and the No. 134 overall player.
Teams are already intrigued with 12 offers handed to Izuchukwu so far.
“A lot of them, LSU, Alabama already offered me, Tennessee,” Izuchukwu said. “A lot of them. They send me email, all that stuff. I don’t really keep in touch with them that much.”
In addition to those schools, he’s also been offered by Clemson, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio State and Mississippi.
Izuchukwu is one of the more interesting prospects in the class not only in his raw ability, but because of his attitude toward the entire recruiting process.
To this point, he’s certainly got interest in a few schools, but he really hasn’t aggressively pursued any one school. He knows that as just a rising junior, there will be more offers and plenty of time to make more visits and make connections with schools.
Right now, Alabama and Tennessee are the schools that have pursued him the hardest. He visited Knoxville in February for the school’s first junior day and he was in Tuscaloosa, Ala., with the Crimson Tide in late March.
“I don’t really know yet because I know there are more offers to come,” Izuchukwu said. “But right now, the school that’s real, real interested in me is Alabama and a little bit Tennessee. But I don’t even know. I can’t tell because I’ve still got two years. I’m still going to get more offers. So I don’t know. What’s important is to get greater, work hard.”
Vols make top 10 for cornerback Kendrick Torain
We can add one more to that list in 3-star Tampa, Fla., cornerback Kendrick Torain, who included Tennessee in his top 10 on Wednesday along with Georgia, Auburn, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, Pitt, Louisville, USF, North Carolina and N.C. State.
Top 10 No Order❗️RECRUITMENT STILL 100% OPEN‼️ pic.twitter.com/1RrlxFAnPK
— Kendrick Torain Jr. (@Kentorain) June 7, 2017
Torain, the No. 54 corner in the Class of 2018, isn’t in unfamiliar recruiting ground for the Vols. His Jesuit High School is less than 10 miles from Tampa Bay Tech, where 3-star Tennessee quarterback commit Mike Penix plays.
Torain has 21 offers, but he didn’t receive one from any of the Power 5 in-state schools. He’s already visited Auburn but it doesn’t appear that Torain has been to Knoxville since he received his offer from the Vols in March.
Tennessee has a definite need to make additions to its defensive backfield in the Class of 2018 and has just two members so far with Reed’s de-commitment — 4-star safety Brendan Harris and 3-star corner Shatar McClay.
SEC Country’s Hale McGranahan contributed to this report.
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