Tennessee signed six guys on National Signing Day to push the signee total to 20 for the Class of 2018.
It was a disappointing day for the Vols. The Vols missed out on a couple of elite prospects who would have turned a good class into a great one.
Still, Tennessee can cling to a strong early signing period in the Class of 2018.
Here are the grades SEC Country gives to Tennessee’s signing class.
Tennessee closed out National Signing Day with only one quarterback in JT Shrout. This was the plan all along with this coaching staff, though. With needs elsewhere, it wouldn’t make much sense taking two quarterbacks this cycle with two rising sophomores at the position.
Shrout is likely destined for a redshirt season. He has plenty of upside but did throw 25 interceptions as a senior.
The Vols could add a graduate transfer at the position, which could improve the grade.
This one is tough for me to grade.
On one hand, I believe Tennessee signed a terrific player in Jeremy Banks. I saw Banks play for Cordova (Tenn.) High School in September and thought he was a great prospect. It was bananas it took so long for teams to recruit him.
The Vols also didn’t take on another running back in the class despite a desire to do so.
That’s why the Vols didn’t receive and A. Banks has a high ceiling, though.
Alontae Taylor is one of the headliners of the class. He was one of the most coveted athletes in the entire country. Taylor could contribute immediately for an offense that was starved for big plays last season.
Cedric Tillman is the other wide receiver signee. He has a great frame at 6-foot-3, but he was a backup plan. Jordan Young flipped his commitment on Signing Day to Florida State.
Tillman didn’t receive an offer until Sunday when it appeared Young was looking elsewhere.
Tennessee signed Jacob Warren and Dominick Wood-Anderson in the early signing period.
Warren is a tight end much more in the mold of what Butch Jones wanted at the position. He’s a lean, 6-6 player who almost looks more like a wide receiver. He will have to put on more weight in the Vols’ new pro-style offense.
Wood-Anderson might be the steal of the class. He was recruited hard by Alabama. Anytime you can beat the Crimson Tide for a prospect, it’s a big win. Wood-Anderson fits the pro-style offense and will likely start next season.
Tennessee signed Jahmir Johnson, Jerome Carvin, Tanner Antonutti and Ollie Lane.
The Vols have 11 scholarship offensive linemen heading into the 2018 season. This was a position ravaged by injuries this past season. If the injury bug bites again, Tennessee’s offense could face some real problems.
Johnson and Carvin have a chance to contribute next season. Both will have to prove they belong on the field in spring and summer practice, though.
Lane could end up being the best out of the group. He’s an intriguing prospect who played in an option offense in high school. Lane could have a high ceiling if he can learn to pass protect.
Antonutti is an athletic prospect who played mostly tight end in high school. He will need to add more weight and learn the tackle position a bit more before seeing the field.
Tennessee tried to add one more prospect to the group.
Greg Emerson could end up being the best prospect in the class. He has a 6-3, 275-pound frame and displays great athleticism. Emerson could be a first-round draft pick if he pushes himself.
Junior college prospect Emmit Gooden could play a role at starting defensive tackle next season, too. He fits perfectly into Tennessee’s new 3-4 scheme.
Brant Lawless is a defensive tackle who is athletic enough to possibly find himself on the field in a season or two.
John Mincey, Kurott Garland and Kingston Harris round out the group. Each signee is 6-3 or taller and has potential to develop into a productive player down the line. Mincey has the highest ceiling of the trio.
Tennessee held on to JJ Peterson. This was the best news of the day for the Vols. Alabama was making a push for him late.
Missing out on Quay Walker, who picked Georgia over Tennessee, was a tough pill to swallow. The Vols were leading with him for a few weeks until the last couple of days. This is why the Vols didn’t receive a higher grade.
Still, landing Peterson gives the Vols the cornerstone of their defense for the next few seasons.
The Vols also landed junior college prospect Jordan Allen. He will likely be a defensive end/linebacker hybrid who rushes the passer more often than not. He could contribute right away.
Tennessee took a swing at a number of cornerback prospects. The Vols came up short on all of them and didn’t sign a cornerback on National Signing Day. There is a hole at this position after the team lost four cornerbacks from its 2017 roster.
The Vols did add safety Trevon Flowers, who Pruitt mentioned Wednesday could potentially play some corner. He only played football for one season in high school because his main focus was baseball. There is plenty of upside with Flowers if he can learn the technical side of the position.
Tennessee signed Paxton Brooks in the early signing period. He is a highly regarded punter who seems to be in line to replace Trevor Daniel at the position.
It was a disappointing National Signing Day. There also is a glaring hole at cornerback after missing out on so many prospects.
However, Tennessee still came away with a solid class. There are pieces who can help the Vols win next season and beyond.