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 committed quarterbacks and the Vols’ chances with top prospects.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Do we have a qb committed who is a collegiate level passer, rather than just a collegiate level athlete.
— Caleb Estes (@KickerCaleb234) January 10, 2018
Tennessee has only one quarterback signee right now: JT Shrout. It doesn’t look like the coaching staff is too concerned with adding another quarterback in the Class of 2018.
This isn’t surprising with Quinten Dormady, Jarrett Guarantano and Will McBride all slated to return. Each of those quarterbacks logged at least one start last season. There are plenty of bigger depth issues to deal with at other positions.
If you’re looking for a passer over an athlete, Shrout might be your guy. He’s not coming to Rocky Top as a next-level athlete, that’s for sure.
Shrout is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound pro-style quarterback from Newhall, Calif., who has NFL scouts drooling over his potential. Yahoo Sports’ Pete Thamel wrote this piece about Shrout, who impressed a number of scouts at a camp.
Shrout is a work in progress, though. He might make all the throws in shorts and throw pretty spirals, but his game stats are tough to embrace.
Shrout threw for 3,064 yards and 27 touchdowns last season, according to MaxPreps. He also tossed 25 interceptions, which takes some of the shine off his stats. This was his only season as a starter, so the sample size is small.
Regardless, if you want pro-style quarterbacks you’re in luck, because that appears to be the route the new coaching staff is taking.
Legitimate Chance at Quay Walker? Taylor Stuart? Griffin? And copeland
— VolnationRecruiting (@VolRecruiting98) January 10, 2018
Tennessee is going after some high-profile guys, but it isn’t exactly a leader with a number of them at this point.
You’ve listed pretty much the top prospects on Tennessee’s board, so let’s go through them.
Quay Walker is a linebacker commit to Alabama who is unsure of his standing with the Crimson Tide. This gives the Vols an opening.
Walker will be on campus this weekend for an official visit. He is visiting with Tennessee commit JJ Peterson. It’s possible Peterson and coach Jeremy Pruitt can convince Walker this is the place for him, but right now there is room to be made up.
Isaac Taylor-Stuart is one of the best cornerback prospects in the class. He would come in and probably be a guaranteed starter his first day on campus.
Tennessee is behind Texas A&M and USC right now for Taylor-Stuart. He does have Tennessee slated for his final official visit on Feb. 2, which give the Vols the last chance to sway his commitment before National Signing Day.
Cornerback Olaijah Griffin is about as good as Taylor-Stuart, and the Vols are in a much better position. Griffin is intrigued by the prospect of playing for Pruitt and potentially developing into an NFL talent.
Griffin spent last week in Orlando, Fla., participating in the Under Armour All-America Game. Tennessee signee Alontae Taylor spent a lot of time with Griffin and the two appear to be pretty close. Griffin even flashed a Vols sign with his hands in a video on Taylor’s Twitter.
It looks like Griffin is all Tennessee right now.
Wide receiver Jacob Copeland has drawn comparisons to former Florida receiver Percy Harvin. It’s easy to see why. Copeland is flat-out explosive with the ball in his hands.
Copeland moved Tennessee toward the top of his list after Pruitt was hired. He is close with Pruitt and that has helped the Vols.
Right now it feels like Alabama and Florida might be in better positions. Copeland was impressed that he received a call from Alabama’s staff after the national championship victory on Monday. He is close with Florida quarterback Emory Jones, too.
This recruitment is far from over, though.
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.