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 Tennessee offensive playmakers, the quarterback situation and defensive backs.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who are some offensive playmakers the that have signed and what type of offense are the Vols expected to run next year? Thanks
— Clay Heater (@clay_heater) December 27, 2017
The best offensive playmaker the Vols snagged in the Class of 2018 is Alontae Taylor. He could play multiple positions in college but will most likely line up at wide receiver.
Taylor is a lifelong quarterback who is undergoing a position change. He still has a ways to go working on his route running and timing.
He has game-breaking speed, though, which should get him the ball early in his college career. Tennessee should focus on trying to get him the ball in open space a few times each game.
Another playmaker is running back Jeremy Banks. He rushed for just under 2,000 yards and scored 32 touchdowns as a senior at Cordova (Tenn.) High School.
Banks likely won’t hit the field for a few years, but he’s a late bloomer who puts in a ton of work on his own time. He is a strong runner who is constantly moving north to south. I wouldn’t be surprised if he turned into a really good player for the Vols.
I think the offense implemented by new offensive coordinator Tyson Helton will have a lot more pro-style influences than the Vols had under former coach Butch Jones.
There will be more under-center formations and power running. Tennessee will run plenty of spread, too.
Think about Alabama’s offense the last few years. It likely will look something close to that.
Are the #Vols going to stick with one QB in this class since they have a preferred walk-on that declined scholarships from other schools?
— Cory Varner (@Cvarner24) December 26, 2017
I think coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff are content with the quarterback situation now. Tennessee signed JT Shrout last week and added a preferred walk-on in Bart Harris.
Shrout originally was committed to Cal until Tennessee was able to muscle up and bring him on board. He has a lot of potential but had 25 interceptions last season, which is a cause for concern. The coaching staff believes in him, though.
Harris received offers from Missouri State, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois and Western Illinois. I don’t think he’ll ever see playing time for the Vols.
Tennessee returns quarterbacks Quinten Dormady, Jarrett Guarantano and Will McBride. All three started games last season and probably expect to compete for starting snaps next season. If one decides to transfer, then the Vols might look to add one more QB in the class.
Remaining secondary targets for Tennessee are Smith, Moore, Joseph, Griffin, Taylor-Stuart….what are the chances of landing at least two of them? Highly rated guys for sure. Do we pursue them all heavily? Any back up plans if 4 of them commit elsewhere?
— Derek Jones (@CoachDJonesCHS) December 26, 2017
The defensive backs mentioned are Kelvin Joseph, Joshua Moore, Eddie Smith, Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart.
I think Tennessee is in a good position to nab Griffin and Smith at this point. Griffin is a 4-star prospect from Mission Viejo, Calif., and would be a more impressive get. He’s a current UCLA commit but took all mention of the Bruins off his Twitter bio following an official visit to Knoxville.
Smith is a 3-star corner whom I think Tennessee could get if it put on a full-court press.
Taylor-Stuart is probably a long shot at this point, as well as Joseph. Tennessee is getting in too late to make up ground. It’s possible but not all that likely.
Moore is slightly more of a possibility because he is a Texas A&M lean. The Aggies went through a coaching change, which could create an opportunity for Tennessee. I wouldn’t hold my breath for this one, either.
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