Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss the Vols still leading for a defensive line prospect.
Still leading with Ricky Samuel
Defensive tackle Ricky Samuel named Tennessee his leader over two months ago after his visit to a junior day event on March 3. The Vols are still in a solid position with summer around the corner, but another program has come into the picture.
“As of right now, Tennessee is still a leader,” Samuel told SEC Country. “I have Troy that is creeping up on them. It’d be Troy and Tennessee as the leaders right now.”
Samuel received the Tennessee offer in February and the Vols have remained in contact since. The 3-star defensive tackle received a visit at school from Charles Kelly last Tuesday. He continued to push a similar narrative Samuel has been hearing from the Vol coaching staff.
“They talked to me that they are going to come back down here and take a further look,” Samuel said. “Just telling me they want me, they need me. It’s the same way from me to them. I really do like the school and the coaches. I hope everything goes well with that.”
Tennessee is still the Brewton, Ala., native’s only Power 5 offer. At 6-foot-3, 280-pounds Samuel certainly has the size coach Jeremy Pruitt is looking for on the defensive line. Pruitt has made it very clear he’s not worried about ratings or stats of prospects. He’s focused on if a player fulfills a certain criterion.
Samuel clearly has caught Pruitt’s eye and it has allowed the Vols to get in early on him. Tennessee will continue to stand out to Samuel even if other Power 5 programs start calling.
“I know Coach Pruitt is still kind of new at Tennessee and it’s not going to be perfect right now,” Samuel said. “I’ve known Coach Pruitt since my ninth grade year when he started recruiting me [when he was at Alabama]. He’s just a really good coach. Where ever he wants to get Tennessee, I know he’s going to get there.”
Troy is continuing to push for Samuel, though. The Tennessee camp this summer will likely go a long way in determining where Samuel stands on the Vols’ board. The coaching staff will use their multiple camps in June to determine how exactly to approach the Class of 2019 for the remainder of the cycle.
Until then, Tennessee will continue to lead, but Troy is picking up the pursuit.
“With Troy, it’s communication,” Samuel said. “They’ve been talking to me and sending me a lot of stuff. They are showing a lot of love. Tennessee is doing the same. Coach Kelly came by and talked to me the other day, so that’s important.”
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