Welcome to SEC Country’s weekly mailbag, a question-and-answer forum between readers and Tennessee team and recruiting reporter Blake Morgan.
In this edition, we discuss if Tennessee can land top wide receiver target Jacob Copeland, depth issues with the Vols and the quarterback situation.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tennessee is in a solid position with Jacob Copeland. The Pensacola, Fla., native values relationships over almost nothing else, and his best relationship is with new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt.
It is why Tennessee is in the running for him right now.
Pruitt has already gotten Copeland on campus for an official visit, and it went very well, by all accounts.
Alabama is going to continue to push hard for him. Don’t count out Florida either, with quarterback Emory Jones now in the fold for the Gators.
Copeland is a dynamic athlete who could lift the ceiling on what the Vols offense can do next season. He rates as a 4-star and ranks as the No. 9 wide receiver in the Class of 2018, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
I probably would call Alabama the leader right now, but Tennessee is within striking distance. The Vols don’t have a wide receiver coach in place yet. Depending on whom it is could help push Tennessee over the top.
I think Pruitt is focused on bringing in the top guys right now, or at the very least guys who without a doubt fit his system. If Tennessee struggles in the short term with depth, then so be it.
This was evident with the quarterback situation a few weeks ago. The Vols thought they were getting a commitment from JT Shrout, so they pulled their offer from then-commit Michael Penix. Tennessee had another quarterback commit Adrian Martinez flip to Nebraska that day.
The coaching staff didn’t blink. It held firm to what it believed and look to be content with just one quarterback in the signing class.
Pruitt has mined the junior college ranks to provide some immediate depth at positions like tight end, outside linebacker and offensive tackle. So, there is a push to shore up depth immediately.
I think it’s more important to the staff to find the players who fit with a ceiling that can compete for SEC championships, though.
Like I addressed above I think the Vols are content with taking Shrout as their only quarterback this cycle. He has plenty of potential, but is nowhere near ready to take the field in an SEC game.
Tennessee has Jarrett Guarantano returning for his redshirt sophomore season. Will McBride has three years of eligibility, too, and Quinten Dormady has one more left. There isn’t much of a need to take a quarterback if the coaching staff isn’t sold on him.
As far as running back goes, the staff is high on signee Jeremy Banks from Cordova, Tenn. Commit Anthony Grant has remained loyal through the coaching search, and he would love to be a Vol.
I think the coaching staff might lightly kick the tires on a few prospects to see if there is interest. Banks and Grant will most likely be the haul, though.