Butch Jones is on a recruiting spree this week, collecting commits like he was playing Pokémon Go.
Did I use that right?
Anyhoo, Tennessee is on a roll with four 2017 commitments in three days, adding defensive tackles Breyon and Brandon Gaddy on Tuesday, electric Florida athlete CJ Cotman late Wednesday evening and then Mississippi wideout Jordan Murphy on Thursday.
The Vols concluded their final recruiting camp of the summer Thursday, hosting a number of priority targets including top 2018 quarterback Emory Jones.
— Swagger of Tennessee (@SwaggerofUT) July 21, 2016
Jones’ visit was the story Thursday, as the 4-star Heard County (Ga.) quarterback stopped in Knoxville before heading up to Ohio State’s Friday Night Lights camp.
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound prospect is deciding between Ohio State and Tennessee, and it was critical for the Vols to get Jones back on campus for the second time in nearly a month.
The nation’s No. 2 dual-threat quarterback hung out with 2018 Vols commits Cade Mays, a 5-star offensive tackle from Knoxville Catholic, and Alontae Taylor, a 3-star athlete from Coffee County (Tenn.) Central, who were doing their best to recruit Jones to Rocky Top.
— Cade Mays (@_mayc2) July 21, 2016
Jones originally was set to make a decision sometime in June, but he pumped the brakes in an effort to continue visiting Ohio State and Tennessee this summer. If Jones doesn’t commit to Urban Meyer sometime in the next week, Tennessee’s chances to land the prized 2018 target improve dramatically.
A late addition to 2016 class?
Thursday’s camp was partly targeted toward defensive linemen, and a surprise visitor included 2016 defensive end Mykelle McDaniel. The 3-star Grayson (Ga.) High product took an official visit to Tennessee, as the 6-foot-4, 240-pound senior continues to search for a potential landing spot.
— 1% (@MykelleMcDaniel) July 22, 2016
McDaniel didn’t commit on National Signing Day because of academic issues, but his high school coach recently tweeted that McDaniel had secured the necessary grades to allow the defensive end to enroll at the school of his choice. McDaniel holds an impressive offer list (Alabama, Georgia, Auburn, Ole Miss) and recently has taken official visits to Texas A&M, Tennessee and South Carolina, with the Gamecocks currently netting 40 percent of the 247Sports “Crystal Ball” predictions.
The Vols would love to add immediate depth to their defensive line, especially if McDaniel can add weight and slide inside to tackle. Tennessee doesn’t have an available scholarship for the 2016 class, though, so should McDaniel commit to the Vols he would count toward the 2017 class.
Dishing out offers
During the past week, Tennessee extended a number of offers to 2017 and 2018 prospects, especially targeting receivers.
After a solid showing at UT’s camp Thursday, 2018 California wideout Nikko Remigio, a 4-star prospect, tweeted he had received his first SEC offer.
— Nikko Remigio (@nikkoremigio) July 21, 2016
Earlier in the week, the Vols offered Georgia athlete Shakur Brown, who told SEC Country he was “really excited” about the offer. Brown is an unrated prospect in the 2017 class, but the 6-foot, 180-pound athlete holds more than a dozen offers from schools like South Carolina, West Virginia and Kentucky. He plays Wildcat quarterback, receiver and defensive back at Woodland and wants to play cornerback in college.
Brown has spoken with Tennessee secondary coach Willie Martinez and plans on taking an official visit to Knoxville this fall.
The question is whether there’s room for Brown in the class. With Cotman committing Wednesday, Tennessee only has one spot remaining for a defensive back, and the Vols have other targets (see: 5-star safety Deangelo Gibbs) much higher on their board.
According to 247Sports’ Ryan Callahan, star receiver Jeremiah Holloman visited Tennessee for the second time in four weeks on Thursday. The Top 100 wideout from Newton (Ga.) High has had the Vols in his leader group for months, but most signs point toward Holloman committing to the home-state Georgia Bulldogs sometime soon.
Georgia holds 89 percent advantage in the “Crystal Ball” predictions, including eight consecutive selections.
Still, the Volunteers remain in the hunt, hoping Holloman’s bond with UT linebacker commit and Newton teammate Jaquan Henderson will help tip the scales in their favor.
Henderson told SEC Country he’s “pushing Jeremiah every day,” but admitted “you never know what Jeremiah is going to do.”
“When we’re at practice, I tell him every single day that we’re going to play college football together. Ever since pee-wee, me and Jeremiah have played football together. His parents and my parents have a great relationship. Basically we’re like family. Our goal was to play college football together, and that’s still our goal,” Henderson said.
“But you never know what he’s going to do. I’m just basically waiting to see what he’s going to do. Whatever school he goes to — and hopefully that’s Tennessee, I pray that it’s Tennessee — he’s always still going to be my brother no matter what.”
Keep an eye on
2019 offensive tackle Doug Nester camped with Tennessee on Thursday and got some additional face time with Vols OL coach Don Mahoney. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound sophomore is teammates with Vols offensive line commit Riley Locklear, who also attended Tennessee’s camp, at Spring Valley High in West Virginia.
Nester started at left tackle as a freshman and already holds an offer from Tennessee. Brent Terry, Nester’s position coach at Spring Valley, told SEC Country that the offensive lineman “oozes potential” and has a very high ceiling as a prospect.
Odds & Ends
The Vols hosted 5-star wideouts Joseph Lewis, a 2017 prospect, and Jalen Hall, the nation’s No. 1 receiver in the 2018 class, on Thursday. The Hawkins High School (Calif.) teammates stopped by Tennessee following their visit to Alabama. … 2017 Vols cornerback commit Cheyenne Labruzza was unable to attend Thursday’s camp. … A trio of Tennessee targets will attend Clemson’s recruiting cookout this weekend: Tigers receiver commit Tee Higgins, 4-star Virginia defensive end Jordan Williams and 4-star linebacker Justin Foster.
All rankings are provided by the 247Sports composite unless otherwise noted.
Jesse Simonton covers Tennessee football and recruiting for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution and SECCountry.com