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 how Tennessee’s record could affect the class, who might be next to commit and what if Tennessee doesn’t make Owen Pappoe’s top 3.
To submit a question for Blake, send a message to @BlakeMorganSEC on Twitter or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
@blakemorganSEC If they stay with CBJ how different will the recruiting class be if we go 9-3 vs. 5-7?
— CountryButNotRedneck (@Georgia_VOL) October 4, 2017
I’m not sure if it’ll be radically different, but the record would affect the Class of 2018, for sure.
Commits Jatavious Harris and Brendon Harris have opened their recruitment to all schools. Jatavious says communication from the Tennessee coaching staff hasn’t been the same since he opened it up.
There are rumors offensive tackle commit Cade Mays is looking around at other schools for the first time in two years.
I think if coach Butch Jones can somehow right the ship and pull off a 9-3 season then the class will stay intact. The Vols will look like they are back on the right track, and who wants to jump off a train moving in the right direction?
If things continue to spiral and the team ends the season with a 5-7 record, I think Jones will be gone. If he survives, I think there is potential some of the top prospects will move on elsewhere.
Brendon Harris could flip to another school, Clemson was pursuing him over the summer. Mays will have his pick of offers. Cornerback commit Jaycee Horn has plenty of interest from South Carolina and picked up a Clemson offer a little over a week ago.
Tennessee holds 23 commitments at this time. I think 18 or 19 will end up at Tennessee regardless of the record at the end of the year. Especially if Jones remains at the helm.
Who is next to commit? – Griffin (email)
Everyone has been focused on who might de-commit over the past few weeks. I think some have forgotten Tennessee is actively recruiting and trying to pull off a solid Class of 2018.
There are two prospects Tennessee is targeting. Offensive tackle Jerome Carvin and wide receiver Jeshaun Jones have received a lot of attention from the coaching staff.
Both prospects made their official visits with the bulk of the commits to the Georgia game on Sept. 30. Obviously, the game did not go as planned for the Vols, but the weekend seemed to be OK in recruiting terms, at least.
Carvin had weighed the option between Tennessee and Alabama all summer. The Crimson Tide decided to use their limited space elsewhere. Mississippi State then came into the picture and Arkansas will get an official visit, too.
Where he decides to go is up in the air, but Carvin is the likeliest to end up a Vol.
Tennessee has wide receiver commits from Alontae Taylor, Jatavious Harris and Shocky Jacques-Louis. It seemed unlikely the Vols would bring on another wide receiver in this cycle. They have continued to pursue Jones, though.
It now seems like Harris might be on his way out, which would open the door a bit more for Jones.
I’m not sure if Carvin or Jones will commit first, but right now I could see both ending up with the Vols.
If Owen’s top 3 doesn’t list UT will they back off even more or go harder at him? Right now, they need someone big beyond 2018 to keep future recruits interested in my opinion. – Dale Dowden (Twitter)
One of the best overall prospects in the Class of 2019, Owen Pappoe ,will release his final three schools “soon.”
Tennessee made his top-10 list along with Florida State, Georgia, Alabama, LSU, Clemson, Nebraska, Auburn, Florida and Ohio State.
I think Tennessee will back off of Pappoe if they don’t make his top 3. With the elite prospects, I’ve seen the Vols back off if they feel like they aren’t in the running.
Tennessee came back after getting cut out of Horn’s recruitment in favor of South Carolina and Alabama, but those circumstances were different. Horn wasn’t a top-5 prospect in the class, and Alabama backed off the recruitment a little bit.
I agree it would really help the Class of 2019 and future classes to get a top prospect to rally around. Much like how the Class of 2018 was helped by one of the best prospects in the class in Cade Mays committing so early.
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