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 where the Vols stand with lone 2019 QB offer Bo Nix, the current visit schedule of commit Alontae Taylor, and a pair of 2018 running backs that just received offers.
BUFORD, Ga. — The Tennessee quarterback battle between redshirt freshman Jarrett Guarantano and junior Quinten Dormady will have an immediate influence on the Vols’ on-field product in 2017, but it also will go a long way in shaping how important its quarterback recruiting is for the next few seasons.
If Dormady wins, it would make more sense for Tennessee to focus on the 2018 class and try to bring in a talent that could learn the offense and compete for a starting job in Year 2 to create some long-term stability at the position. But if it goes to the youngster Guarantano, then the focus likely shifts the the 2019 and 2020 quarterback boards to bring in the next big thing.
If that task falls on the Class of 2019, Pinson Valley (Ala.) quarterback Bo Nix is the one name front and center. Nix, a 4-star prospect ranked the No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the Class of 2019 by 247Sports, is the only quarterback from his class that currently holds an offer from Tennessee.
Nix received his offer after attending a camp last summer in Knoxville.
“They’re in the SEC and obviously that plays a big role because SEC football, in my opinion, is the best,” Nix said. “So any time you go to an SEC school then you’ll come out being one of the best. You get to play good competition and they always throw out really good players.”
While the pull of the SEC may be too much for other conferences to overcome, Tennessee still has a ton of competition. Nix already has offers from Auburn, Alabama, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU and Ole Miss.
Auburn is widely regarded as the favorite to sign him given that he’s the son of former Auburn quarterback Patrick Nix. However, Tennessee isn’t doing itself any favors. Since new quarterbacks coach Mike Canales took over in late January, Nix hasn’t heard a peep from him, he confirmed to SEC Country.
It’s possible that Tennessee just doesn’t feel that it can overcome the legacy relationship Nix has with Auburn and feels it can better allocate the time and resources it has. A much more likely explanation is that since taking over, Canales has been tasked with building his 2018 quarterbacks recruiting board — a much more time sensitive issue — and trying to find the best replacement for Josh Dobbs. Just because Nix hasn’t heard from the Vols yet doesn’t mean he won’t.
And maybe even better news for Tennessee, Nix is still “maybe” considering attending a camp in Knoxville this summer, depending on his schedule. Plenty of other schools already have hosted him on visits this spring. Since his appearance at the Atlanta regional for Nike’s “The Opening” last Sunday, Nix has been to Clemson, Alabama and Auburn.
But where might Tennessee rank relative to the other top schools that he’s received offers from? Nix is staying tight-lipped for now.
“They’re all just in a mix up there,” he said.
An update on commit Alontae Taylor’s visit schedule
Alontae Taylor, a 4-star athlete out of Coffee County Central (Tenn.), has been a model commit for the Vols.
He was an early commit, announcing on June 18, 2016, and has stuck with it despite coaching changes and a seriously impressive list of offers that have come since that date. But that doesn’t mean that the nation’s No. 12 athlete hasn’t taken advantage of the recruiting process — he’s taken plenty of visits to other schools.
But it sounds like that part of the process is coming to an end. Taylor confirmed to SEC Country at “The Opening” in Buford, Ga., last Sunday that he’d be headed to Athens, Ga., to visit Georgia this weekend while he’s in the area for the Under Armour All-American camp in Atlanta. After that, he’ll be taking just one more unofficial visit, to Stanford at some point over the summer. After that, he’ll take some official visits before becoming a Volunteer on National Signing Day.
So far, Taylor has two of his five available official visits planned: one to South Carolina on Oct. 28 and another to LSU on Nov. 11.
While Tennessee isn’t on that list yet, it’s really not that surprising. Taylor has done his fair share of recruiting for the Vols already, so he’s a prime candidate to have his official visit for one of the three weekends in January leading up to National Signing Day, often the most important weekends for officials on the entire calendar.
Vols extend offers to 2 2018 running backs
There’s no time like the present to expand your recruiting board, and it looks like Tennessee running backs coach Mike Gillespie did just that this week.
Tennessee offered two new 2018 running backs over the last couple days: 3-stars Jahmir Smith and DeMarcus Townsend.
Smith, a Lee County (N.C.) back, announced his offer on Twitter on Wednesday.
— Jahmir Smith (Mir) (@Jahmir_trapical) March 29, 2017
Smith, ranked the No. 32 running back in the Class of 2018, is up to 23 offers after also picking one up from Mississippi State on Wednesday. He also holds offers from N.C. State, Nebraska, North Carolina, Wisconsin and Cal.
Tennessee followed up Smith’s offer with an offer to Townsend on Thursday.
— DeMarcus Townsend (@DTownsend21) March 28, 2017
Townsend ranks as the No. 45 running back by 247Sports’ composite rankings. He holds nine offers including Arkansas, UCLA and Purdue.
With Smith and Townsend, Tennessee is up to 28 running back offers in the Class of 2018.
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