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 Tennessee targets and who they might get.
The Tennessee 2018 recruiting class has taken a few hits over the past couple of weeks. Wide receiver Jatavious Harris opened his commitment to all schools, but he says he is still committed. Tennessee isn’t doing a lot to keep him. He will likely commit elsewhere. Safety Brendon Harris opened his recruitment after the 41-0 loss to Georgia. He has since committed to Vanderbilt. Running back Lyn-J Dixon de-committed after the 15-9 loss to South Carolina. I don’t think he has much interest in considering Tennessee anytime soon.
There have been three de-commitments in October. You can throw in the Class of 2019 de-commitment of wide receiver T.J. Sheffield.
It has not been the best month on the recruiting trail for the Vols. Rumors swirling about coach Butch Jones’ job security don’t help, either.
Jones and the coaching staff have continued on the recruiting trail, though.
Here are a few of the top targets the Vols are pursuing:
Caleb Johnson, 6-foot-3, 245 pounds, LB
The Vols have one commitment from a linebacker, Mathew Flint. He is a player who leans on his speed to play effective football.
Caleb Johnson relies on his motor to make plays. He can also deliver big hits.
Tennessee has been searching for another defensive end or linebacker who can rush the passer.
Johnson took his official visit to Tennessee when the Vols played Georgia. The game was not the best to watch – a historic 41-0 home loss – but it was a solid weekend recruiting. Johnson was able to hang out with a lot of the commits. He also got to see a packed Neyland Stadium, even if a lot of fans left at halftime.
Johnson has said the Vols are recruiting him the hardest right now. Auburn and Georgia are in the running, too.
So, it isn’t going to be easy getting Johnson, but the coaching staff is working at it.
Jerome Carvin, 6-4, 325 pounds, OL
Jerome Carvin seemed to be a slam dunk for the Vols over the summer when Alabama stopped pursuing him. The two teams were perceived to be in the lead at the time.
It hasn’t been that easy for Tennessee, though.
Mississippi State has become a big threat for taking a Carvin commitment. He’s already been to Starkville twice this season.
The Bulldogs seem to have the momentum, but the recruitment isn’t over.
Carvin won’t decide for at least a few more weeks and will likely announce his decision in December.
Carvin told SEC Country in September no team had the lead. Tennessee has to keep working to beat out Mississippi State for Carvin.
Jeshaun Jones, 6-1, 176 pounds, WR
Tennessee seemed intent on bringing four wide receivers in this class. The Vols had commitments from Alontae Taylor, Shocky Jacques-Louis and Harris for months. Harris has de-committed. Taylor has flirted with other schools and Georgia could be a threat as it continues to push for a flip.
It is a good thing Tennessee had kept pursuing other options. The Vols don’t have to pick up the recruitment of Jones from out of nowhere.
Jeshaun Jones took his official visit to Knoxville for the Georgia game, as well.
Iowa State is Tennessee’s biggest competition heading down the stretch in this recruitment.
One would think Tennessee could muscle up and secure a commitment over Iowa State. If the Vols want him, I think they can get him.
Michael Barrett, 5-11, 215 pounds, RB
The Vols have taken at least two running backs every cycle under Jones. This will likely not change now.
Dixon’s de-commitment leaves only Anthony Grant as a committed running back.
Michael Barrett plays quarterback for Lowndes High School in Valdosta, Ga. The coaching staff is recruiting him as a running back.
He has good speed and knows how to run with the football.
Barrett is the only running back on Tennessee’s radar.
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