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 commit Jatavious Harris and the latest in his recruitment.
Is Tennessee backing off Harris?
Tennessee commit Jatavious Harris tweeted Monday last week he was opening his recruitment to all schools. He made clear this was only opening recruitment and not a de-commitment from Tennessee.
The Vols coaching staff might have seen it in another way, though. Harris said in a video interview with Barton Simmons, the vibe he is getting from the coaching staff has changed in the last week.
“Ever since I put that tweet out, it hasn’t been like it used to be,” Harris said. “So, I might have to go in a different direction regardless.”
The decision to open up his recruitment came just two days after the 41-0 loss to Georgia. Many speculated the loss had a lot to do with the decision.
Harris clarified the loss to Georgia didn’t affect his decision either way.
“The Georgia game didn’t have anything to do with it,” Harris said. “Just talking to my parents and long nights I’ve had to think. I just came to the decision I wanted to open things up.”
Harris says he wants to see what else is out there before making his final decision.
“I just wanted to take things slow and enjoy the process,” Harris said. “And I want to take visits to other schools. I mean, I need something to fall back on because things aren’t looking too good at Tennessee.”
Harris committed in April and had been one of the Vols’ biggest peer-recruiters in the Class of 2018. He rates as a 3-star prospect and ranks as the No. 112 wide receiver in the class, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Tennessee has wide receiver commits from Alontae Taylor and Shocky Jacques-Louis to go along with Harris. So, losing Harris wouldn’t devastate the class, and the Vols seem like they might have already moved on anyway.
Other schools pursuing
While Tennessee might not be communicating in the same way to Harris as they were before the tweet, he is still one of the 23 prospects committed to the Vols right now in the class.
Harris listed five schools — Louisville, South Carolina, Oregon, Stanford and Georgia Tech — as teams who have reached out to him since he reopened his recruitment.
Louisville, LSU and Georgia Tech are the three schools he plans to take official visits to over the next few months.
Harris knows what he is looking for in his final decision. The official visits will be the deciding factors.
“Basically, I want to take my official visits and see how it is,” Harris said. “I’m just trying to find a place that is like a second home, I can play early and make a huge impact.”
Harris has his decision date set, though the school he will pick is still up in the air.
“I’m signing Dec. 15,” Harris said. “That’s when I’ll have my final decision.”
Harris sounds like he just wants to look around and make sure Tennessee is the right place for him. However, the Vols might be closer to being done with Harris than he might have wanted.
This isn’t incredibly uncommon, when a 3-star prospect de-commits from a school, the coaching staff sometimes pulls the plug on them.
This might not be completely the case for Harris, though. He has connections with a lot of the Georgia prospects Tennessee has been recruiting. Harris is from Milledgeville, Ga.
Harris was one of the reasons the Vols were able to jump back into the Jaycee Horn recruitment. Horn cut his list to South Carolina and Alabama over the summer, but Harris was vocal about Horn ending up in Knoxville, Tenn.
Horn committed to Tennessee in early August and is one of the best defensive players in the Vols’ class.
It would not be worth losing Horn over a message sent to Harris, so that could keep Harris around.
This will be an interesting recruitment to follow over the next few months. Harris has a lot of connections in this class for the Vols, but the coaching staff might be done with him.
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