KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — 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.
Tennessee’s newest coach hit the recruiting trail immediately on Tuesday.
Secondary coach Charlton Warren, who replace the fired Willie Martinez on Monday, went and visited with cornerback commits Cheyenne Labruzza and Terrell Bailey on his second day on the job.
Head coach Butch Jones, defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie also made the trip to lockdown the two Louisiana natives.
Bailey is coming off his official visit to Tennessee and he told SEC Country that Martinez’s firing “surprised” him. The John Ehret standout planned to take wait-and-see approach, especially with visits planned to Arizona State (Jan. 20) and Notre Dame (Jan. 27) upcoming.
Labruzza will take his official visit to Tennessee this weekend, and while LSU continues to target the in-state talent from Albany, sources previously told SEC Country that Labruzza was not a flip candidate and was solid to the Vols.
GBO !! ?? pic.twitter.com/VdSGFNeLqY
— Cheyenne Labruzza (@bruzzaaa) January 18, 2017
After meeting Warren on Tuesday evening, that remains the case, with Labruzza telling SEC Country, “I’m a Vol. That’s not changing.”
Warren will visit cornerback commit Shawn Shamburger (Colquitt County, Ga.) on Wednesday and then head to the Midstate and meet with Theo Jackson and Maleik Gray on Thursday.
Shamburger and Jackson are solid to Tennessee, with the Peach State corner telling SEC Country, “I was looking forward to playing under (Martinez), but I just have to push that aside and understand it’s still a business. I just have to come in with the same mindset as before and compete.” Gray, a top 100 prospect, is also solid, despite a late push by Florida State.
Interestingly, a new name emerged on the DB board Monday, as Tennessee offered former Louisville corner commit Tre Norwood.
— Tre Norwood (@trenorwood_3) January 16, 2017
The Vols have long wanted to add a fourth cornerback to their 2017 class, but with Ameer Speed eliminating them last week and Yusuf Corker committing to Kentucky, it seemed like Tennessee was pivoting toward other needs (see: receiver).
Not so fast?
With Warren now in the fold, maybe the Vols will truly try to sign a fourth corner: Be it Norwood, Corker, who they hope will visit sometime in the next two weeks, or another new name.
Norwood is a 3-star prospect from Fort Smith, Ark.. He has received plenty of attention since decommitting from the Cardinals last week, adding offers from Tennessee, Notre Dame and Oklahoma.
The 5-foot-11, 168-pound corner has visits scheduled to Notre Dame and Oklahoma the next two weekends, so it will be worth monitoring if he changes those plans and makes a trip to Tennessee.
Other visits of note
* Tennessee continues to aggressively recruit James Clemons (Ala.) defensive end LaBryan Ray. Although Alabama is the perceived frontrunner, Ray enjoyed his official visit to Tennessee last weekend and has hosted quality control coach Walt Wells in-home twice in the past two weeks.
Ray earned a 5th-star in the last 247Sports rankings. The Under Armour All-American will take his official visit to Alabama this weekend. The Vols trail, but they’re not giving up easily here.
* Although his contract will expire soon, Tennessee offensive line coach Don Mahoney continues to recruit hard for the Vols. Mahoney was in Georgia on Tuesday, visiting with a number of 2018 prospects, including 4-star guard Jalil Irvin of Stone Mountain, Ga.
Irvin doesn’t currently have a leader, but Tennessee is firmly entrenched in the guard’s top group. Irvin told SEC Country he had a “nice talk” with Mahoney and that he will be back in Knoxville in February for Junior Day.
* Gillespie will remain in Louisiana on Wednesday and meet with tailback commit Trey Coleman. The 3-star prospect from West Monroe (La.) took his official visit to Tennessee last weekend and told SEC Country he had a lot fun.
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