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 3-star running back Tae Provens, who still has the Vols on top despite pushes from other schools, as well as an interesting top 8 that could land Tennessee two priority targets.
JOHNS CREEK, Ga. — It’s been a while since Tennessee landed a commitment for its Class of 2018 — the last being 4-star athlete Alontae Taylor in June 2016 — but the next might come from a player singing the Vols’ praises all along.
Tae Provens, a 3-star running back out of Gurley, Ala., has previously named Tennessee as his top school and, despite increasing interest and a few visits to other schools, he confirmed that is still the case.
“You go down there, the coaches, they welcome you,” Provens said of what impresses him about the Vols. “They’re like father and big brother figures.”
That coaching staff is a huge part of Provens’ affinity for Tennessee. Running backs coach Robert Gillespie, the staple of Tennessee’s offensive coaching staff after all of the turnover this offseason, has made a big impression on Provens as his primary recruiter.
“I’d love to be coached by him,” Provens said. “He’s going to push you to be the best you can be at anything you do on and off the field. He’s just going to look after you through it all.”
Provens has previously said that he hopes to make a decision sometime over the summer, although increased interest could delay that. Behind Tennessee, Provens identified Auburn, LSU and Southern Cal as the schools pushing the hardest for him behind Tennessee.
Recently, Provens visited LSU for junior day, but admittedly left desiring more only having seen “the basics” while he was there. He hopes to make another visit to Baton Rouge, La. to get a better feel for the entire school.
But that shouldn’t worry Tennessee fans too much. When asked if there’s anything Tennessee needs to do to fend off the other schools and stay on top of his list, he offered a single-worded, blunt answer — “Nothing.”
Vols land on intriguing top 8 for 4-star DT Alfred Thomas
Sunday night, 4-star defensive tackle Alfred Thomas dropped his top 8. Tennessee came in at No. 4, although Thomas didn’t indicate whether the list was in any particular order.
The list has quite a bit of intrigue, not only because it included five SEC schools, but because of what his Lanier (Ala.) High School teammate, 3-star dual-threat quarterback James Foster, tweeted in response.
Package Deal ?? https://t.co/UoZbPHGCMU
— James Foster II..? (@YungSimba4) April 2, 2017
Foster’s tweet seems to indicate that the recruitment of he and his teammate will be tied together. Last week, Foster attended Nike’s “The Opening” regional competition in Atlanta wearing a Tennessee towel — a good indication for the Vols on both Foster and the nation’s No. 25 defensive end by 247Sports’ composite rankings.
The bad news, however, is that despite the towel, Foster indicated that Tennessee still sat firmly in third place on his list behind Missouri and Georgia, in that order.
If Thomas’ list is ranked, he and Foster still disagree on the order of No. 1 and No. 2, but have the same two schools up there.
Foster indicated last week that Tennessee’s biggest deficiency was its relationship with his mother, but that should change whenever he’s able to make his visit, which could come for the Orange and White game April 22. While courting the parents of a recruit is almost always a big part of the process and something Tennessee should focus on with Foster, pushing a little harder for his high school teammate also might be able to do the trick and get Tennessee closer to the top for both players.
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