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 and its terrific month of recruiting and what it means going forward.
Power of relationships
Tennessee struck out on almost all of the top prospects it was in the mix with on National Signing Day. Some wondered if first-year coach Jeremy Pruitt came to Rocky Top and was aiming a little too high for a team coming off a 4-8 season.
All it meant was Pruitt and his staff didn’t have enough time to build relationships and earn the trust of prospects. With plenty of time to push their message, the Vols continue to make strides with the 2019 class and have been on a hot streak in the month of May.
Tennessee picked up a commitment from junior college linebacker Lakia Henry on Sunday. He’s one of the best linebackers in the country and will likely push for starting playing time once he gets to campus.
Henry’s announcement comes on the heels of 4-star wide receiver Ramel Keyton choosing Tennessee over Auburn, 3-star tight end Sean Brown coming aboard and 5-star tackle Wanya Morris beginning the month with a commitment.
Yes, the Vols have become one of the hottest recruiting programs in the country.
Henry told SEC Country after his visit to Tennessee last weekend that he would choose that school where he had the best relationship. It’s something that almost every prospect says is important to them. Building trust is something this staff has proven it can do well.
Tennessee now has the No. 15 recruiting class in the country, which is good enough for eighth in the SEC, according to the 247Sports team rankings. The ranking values quantity over quality. Tennessee will probably only take around 20 or 21 prospects this cycle which might make it difficult to become a top-10 class.
It’s clear through the first eight public additions of the class, the Vols are aiming for high-quality with each one.
This coaching staff came to campus with a focused vision of how to build a championship culture. They want hard-nosed prospects who love the game of football. If a prospect doesn’t fit that description first and foremost, then they won’t be a priority for this class.
Pruitt has said plenty of times he doesn’t worry about recruiting stars. If an in-state 4-star doesn’t have the right mindset, but a 3-star from Louisiana does then the staff will put its focus on the 3-star.
This is about as well of a May as Tennessee could have hoped for heading into the summer. Pruitt doesn’t have his team recruiting on the level of an Alabama or a Georgia. Considering where the program is after the past decade, what he’s been able to do in the past few months is impressive.
Tennessee will try to capitalize on this momentum in the summer and make this a special class which leads a Vols turnaround.
Vols in William Harrod’s top 7
Tennessee is trying to build from the inside-out on the offensive line. It already has Morris and 4-star guard Jackson Lampley on board.
The Vols received good news toward strengthening the offensive line this cycle when 4-star tackle William Harrod listed Tennessee in his top 7. The Vols make the list along with Florida, LSU, Michigan, North Carolina, Oklahoma and Oregon. He plans to commit on July 28.
The 6-foot-5, 305-pound Harrod is big and physical which is what the staff is looking for from the position. Offensive coordinator Tyson Helton wants a power-run offense which can still gain yards when the defense knows what is coming.
Tennessee will try to add four or five linemen this cycle. Morris and Lampley are a great foundation. Harrod could take it to another level.
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