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. Today, we discuss the Vols’ efforts on 4-star DE Malik Vann, a hasty change of plans for 4-star commit Alontae Taylor and two new offers on the defensive side of the ball.
CHICAGO — Tennessee finds itself right in the hunt on 4-star defensive end Malik Vann. It can thank the addition of defensive line coach Brady Hoke for that.
Vann made two visits to Knoxville last September, but hadn’t made any since then. Despite that, Tennessee cracked his top seven that dropped Tuesday night — along with Alabama, Cincinnati, Michigan State, Oklahoma and Wisconsin — because of the relationship he’s forged with Hoke. That relationship goes back to Hoke’s recent tenure at Oregon, where he recruited Vann for the Ducks.
“Me and Coach Hoke were tight when he was at Oregon,” Vann said at the Chicago regional for Nike’s “The Opening” on April 2. “Now he’s at Tennessee, so our relationship has gotten stronger since he’s been up there.”
— Malik Vann❕ (@MalikVann7) April 12, 2017
“They did really well this past year, and hopefully if I did go there, I could take a Derek Barnett role,” Vann said. “That was Coach Hoke’s main pitch.”
Vann will be making the trek from Fairfield, Ohio to visit the Vols for the first time in about six months for the Orange and White game on April 22.
A change of plans for Vols’ 4-star commit Alontae Taylor
The recruiting process is filled with moving parts.
Kids change their plans, change their minds or get new offers that shake everything up all the time. We got a great example of that fluidity on Tuesday morning when 4-star Tennessee commit Alontae Taylor tweeted that he would no longer be taking his scheduled visit to Alabama over the weekend.
“Will no longer be visiting Alabama this weekend,” Taylor said in the since-deleted tweet.
Just Monday evening, Taylor confirmed to SEC Country that Alabama would be his last unofficial visit to a school other than Tennessee. He plans to be in Knoxville for the Orange and White game on April 22.
Taylor didn’t indicate why he was canceling his trip. He’d already canceled a trip to Louisville’s spring game this Saturday in order to make the trip to Alabama instead. It’s not clear if he plans to make that trip after all or if he’ll be elsewhere this weekend.
Alabama was recruiting Taylor as a defensive back like South Carolina is. Tennessee plans to use him as a receiver.
This comes after Taylor re-assured Vols fans after making his first visit in nearly two months that he was 100-percent committed to Tennessee despite taking a few other visits.
“When I walked on campus, I was kind of seeing if that feeling was still there, the same feeling I had when coach [Zach Azzanni, former receivers coach] was there,” Taylor told SEC Country Monday. “The feeling was the same and maybe even a little bit better. I was just really pumped up to see coach Beard and he was the first coach that I came in contact with whenever I came into the facility so that was great.”
Vols add offers to two 2018 defensive players
After things slowed down a bit for spring break, Tennessee has ramped up the offers its handed out over the last couple weeks, adding two more early this week.
The first went to 4-star cornerback Sevyn Banks, who received his offer on Monday.
— Sevyn Banks7️⃣ (@BanksNiko) April 10, 2017
Banks, out of Jones High School in Orlando, Fla., rank as the No. 27 corner in the country. He has offers from 22 schools, including Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Kentucky and Louisville.
The Gators are considered the early favorite by 247Sports Crystal Ball.
The Vols followed up Banks offer with an offer to 3-star linebacker Keshon Artis on Tuesday afternoon.
— Keshon Artis® (@asvp_ke) April 11, 2017
Artis, a product of Oscar Smith High School in Chesapeake, Va., ranks as the No. 15 inside linebacker in the country and the No. 9 player in Virginia. With the offer, he becomes just the seventh inside linebacker to procure an offer from Tennessee, a position that hasn’t been an emphasis so far this cycle for the Vols’ staff.
The offer from Tennessee is his 14th. His other offers include Virginia Tech, Maryland, Duke, West Virginia and Virginia. The Hokies are considered the early favorite according to 247Sports Crystal Ball projections.
Miss a previous edition? Find all your SEC Country Tennessee Vols recruiting news here.
Luke Srodulski, who covers Michigan State recruiting for Land of 10, contributed to this report.