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Among the more important early storylines for Tennessee’s 2018 recruiting class is exactly what it does at quarterback.
The Vols’ preference would definitely be to reel in a dual threat quarterback, with 14 of 20 quarterback offers sent out to running quarterbacks. The problem thus far has been that the top three QBs on their board — Emory Jones, Phil Jurkovec and Justin Fields — have all already committed elsewhere. Many of the others are trending elsewhere, although 4-star Louisiana QB Justin Rogers did include Tennessee in his top seven.
Things could be heating up a bit on that front, however. After receiving an offer from Tennessee at the end of February, 4-star QB Casey Thompson has Tennessee on his radar. Recently, Thompson told Ryan Callahan of 247Sports that Tennessee is among his favorites, along with North Carolina, Texas, Oregon and Arizona State.
New quarterbacks coach Mike Canales deserves a ton of credit for the gained ground on the nation’s No. 5 dual-threat quarterbacks. While Tennessee’s previous staff didn’t communicate with Thompson, Canales has been in contact with him “daily” of late.
Thompson has never visited Knoxville, but he said he’d like to. However, he already knows a lot about the program because his quarterback trainer, Tony Ballard, was also the trainer for current Tennessee redshirt freshman quarterback Jarrett Guarantano.
“I have never visited, but I love the school, love the offense and I love the coaching staff. I think it’s a good fit,” he told Callahan. “That is a place I would like to go visit. … They’re definitely one of the schools that I have in my top list of offers.
Tennessee is the last of 21 offers that Thompson has received. In addition to the schools he’s listed as his favorites, he also holds offers from Miami, Louisville, Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Thompson said that he’d like his decision to come in May, so if he is going to make a trip to see Tennessee, it’s going to have to come soon.
If Tennessee misses on on Thompson, 3-star Michael Penix may be the most likely candidate to end up with Tennessee on National Signing Day. Tennessee is among Penix’s best offers, along with Arizona and Oregon, but the 247Sports Crystal Ball has the Vols as the heavy favorite to sign the Tampa, Fla. prospect.
Penix is classified as a pro-style quarterback by 247Sports and ranks as the No. 30 pocket passer in the class of 2018.
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