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. Check out previous editions here. In this edition, we discuss what Tennessee plans to do with the secondary.
Where things stand entering Wednesday
Tennessee loses three cornerbacks off of its current roster to graduation. There’s a chance it might lose senior Todd Kelly Jr., too, but he could receive a medical redshirt after missing this season with a knee injury.
Bottom line: The Vols need to replace a lot of production and bodies in the secondary.
Tennessee was once sitting with five defensive backs in the Class of 2018. All have de-committed or been moved on from by the coaching staff. Two, Jaycee Horn and Trey Dean committed to South Carolina and Florida, respectively. So the Vols will still need to recruit plenty of them in the secondary.
RELATED: 2018 Tennessee recruiting big board
Coach Jeremy Pruitt’s background is coaching defensive backs, so he has a pretty good idea of what he wants from the position. He wants big, strong corners who can press at the line of scrimmage, and safeties who can hit hard and play a ball-hawking role. Smaller corners such as former commit Brandon Cross just won’t cut it in Pruitt’s system.
Pruitt immediately reshuffled the Vols’ recruiting board when he took the job. Tangible strides have been made at other positions of need, but not much in the secondary.
Look for the staff to continue to push for defensive backs hard with National Signing Day beginning on Feb. 7.
Tennessee is swinging for the fences at this point to fill out the position group.
First round of offers
Webb was a junior college prospect who came to Knoxville for an official visit the weekend before the early signing period began, but he signed with Virginia Tech. The Vols just didn’t have enough time to close the gap enough between Pruitt’s hiring and the early signing period.
Taylor-Stuart only has interest in Tennessee because of Pruitt. The Vols were not on the radar before the hiring.
There is a ton of ground to make up in this recruitment. He’s a 5-star prospect from San Diego and taking him out of California won’t be an easy task. Georgia is also pushing hard for him.
He has not set up an official visit, but if he does, then at least the Vols will have a shot.
Tennessee seems to be in a good position for Griffin. The 4-star prospect from Mission Viejo, Calif., is a UCLA commit but took all mention of the Bruins off his Twitter bio following his visits to Knoxville.
Tennessee didn’t have a shot before Pruitt, but seem to be in solid position right now.
Joseph is a 4-star recruit from Baton Rouge, La., and, not surprisingly, is a strong LSU lean. Pruitt will try to move in on the mix, though.
Moore is from Yoakum, Texas, and has been hotly pursued by Texas A&M. The coaching change with the Aggies from Kevin Sumlin to Jimbo Fisher could shake their lead at the top and create a chance for Tennessee.
At this point, though, I’m not sure how close Tennessee is to landing either.
Pruitt knows what he wants in the position. He’s also shown he can build relationships quickly. So in either case, don’t count the Vols out quite yet.
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