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 recruiting an in-state linebacker.
Three things for Kane Patterson to like
The Tennessee coaching staff has made it pretty clear they value a prospect’s ability and fit into their system above all else. The Vols will no longer take in-state prospects for the sake of taking them, or to simply fill out a class. If a prospect doesn’t fit exactly what coach Jeremy Pruitt has laid out, then the Vols will move on.
That’s not to say there isn’t talent in-state that Tennessee has targeted. The Class of 2020 in-state haul will be better than 2019, though. In 2019 ,Tennessee has made Memphis, Tenn., native Bill Norton a priority, though he’s committed to Georgia. Tennessee also likes Nashville linebacker Kane Patterson.
Patterson has said playing for the home-state school would be a “cool feeling.” He has boiled down his three most important deciding factors in his recruitment.
“I just have three things I’m looking for,” Patterson told SEC Country. “One being championships. Two being education. Three being the right people to be around.”
Tennessee can’t offer much in terms of competing for championships right now. The Vols likely will improve in 2018 from their first winless SEC season, but it’s an uphill climb.
Pruitt has been around championship-level programs practically his entire college coaching career. He knows what it takes to get to that level. Patterson has already a noticed a change happening in the program.
“Just how they are changing everything,” Patterson said. “Just reading about the spring game and spring practice. They kind of came into a mess and they are cleaning up. Starting in the spring with everything new.”
The 6-foot-1, 225-pound Patterson came to Knoxville on an unofficial visit on March 24. It was for one of the first practices of spring. The coaching staff left a good impression on the talented linebacker.
“I got to go down and see Coach Pruitt and Coach Sherrer this spring,” Patterson said. “Just being around them was super cool. I plan on visiting again soon. I really think Pruitt is about to change everything for Tennessee. It’s about to be going uphill for them very soon.”
Linebacker is a position of need for the Vols. The switch to a 3-4 defense will put more pressure on that group to perform at a higher level. It’s a thin position that will need an immediate boost from this class.
Patterson could help. He is a solid tackler who can diagnosis a play quickly in the middle of the field.
A decision seems to be a long way off for Patterson, but he’ll be narrowing down his list soon. He plans to visit Stanford before releasing his list. There are no guarantees of which programs will make the list.
“This spring, I’ve taken 10 unofficial visits,” Patterson said. “For me, in the process, I’m just trying to narrow it down some and get it down to 10 in the next couple of weeks. That’s the plan.”
My read is Tennessee will make the list and be a contender for Patterson. The closeness will help as will the Vols’ big need at linebacker. Patterson’s perception of Pruitt and his ability to engineer a turnaround will help, too. Look for Ohio State, Alabama and Northwestern to all make the list.
It also helps that Tennessee picked up a commitment from elite lineman Wanya Morris last Tuesday. Morris’ commitment will surely make Tennessee at least a little bit more attractive to top prospects like Patterson.
“I think it’s pretty cool a lot of people are already believing in Pruitt,” Patterson said. “It’s cool to see how he’s already impacted them pretty fast. I think my class will be a very talented class going there. I do think it’s pretty attractive about Tennessee that people like Wanya are believing in Pruitt.”
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.