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T.J. Moore holds a dozen offers, but the 4-star offensive guard from Mallard Creek (N.C.) appears to have narrowed his finalists down to a trio of schools.
During practices at the Shrine Bowl on Wednesday, Moore told SEC Country he’s considering Tennessee, N.C. State and Florida. Some believe Virginia Tech could be a darkhorse team down the stretch, too.
The nation’s No. 251 prospect took an official visit to N.C. State last weekend, and he’s scheduled to trip to Tennessee on Jan. 20.
Ever since decommitting from South Carolina two months ago, the Vols have long been considered the team to beat for Moore’s services.
He took two trips to Knoxville this fall, including catching Tennessee’s blowout loss to Alabama just six days after reopening his recruitment.
“I’ve just built a great relationship with Tennessee. I know a lot about them,” he told SEC Country.
“I know about the coaches. We just really got close.”
Originally, the Vols hoped to sign four offensive lineman in their 2017 class, but with needs remaining at defensive end, corner and tailback, there may not be room for an extra OL.
Two weeks ago, Moore hosted three Vols coaches in-home, including offensive coordinator Mike DeBord and offensive line coach Don Mahoney.
He said the visit was great, but acknowledged Wednesday that communication has died down a bit in the last several days.
“Me and coach (Butch) Jones, we talk a lot, but I haven’t talked to him this week, actually,” Moore said.
“I was surprised. They got a big commit, Trey Smith.
“Hopefully, they still can get me, or if I can still commit. I’m not saying I’m committing there.”
Nixon off the board, Corker best bet left
The Vols were hoping to receive some good news Saturday when 3-star junior college cornerback Keisean Nixon planned to announce a final decision between South Carolina and Tennessee.
However, the Arizona Western College product went ahead and released his college choice a few days early, committing to the Gamecocks on Wednesday.
Committed To The University Of…. pic.twitter.com/JSTam6q0fZ
— All Money In??? (@keiseannixon) December 14, 2016
The miss certainly stings for Tennessee, as Nixon took an official visit to Knoxville over the weekend and the Vols felt like they had some real momentum entering the dead period. They viewed Nixon, an early enrollee, as a prospect who could contribute immediately in a secondary desperate for quality depth.
Now, Yusuf Corker becomes that much more important for the Vols. As recently as Tuesday, the Vols were hoping to get greedy and land both Nixon and Corker. It is the holidays after all.
Instead, Corker slides to the top of Tennessee’s wish list. The 3-star Woodland (Ga.) High product has long been a priority target, and he plans to announce a decision on Dec. 26 — his birthday.
Corker has already taken official visits to Kentucky, Michigan State and South Carolina, yet it’s shaping up to be another Tennessee-South Carolina battle for the rangy corner. Michigan State is a darkhorse contender, too.
Corker unofficially visited Tennessee twice in the fall and hosted Vols coach Butch Jones in-home on Dec. 7.
With two JUCO commits Wednesday, South Carolina now has four corners in its 2017 class. Tennessee would appear to be a better situation for Corker to see the field faster in 2017, but it’s always difficult to discount USC’s Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson when recruiting defensive backs.
Still, the Vols remain in the driver’s seat to add the underrated defensive back.
Irvin lists Vols among Top 4
Unsurprisingly, 2018 offensive guard Jalil Irvin named Tennessee one of his Top 4 schools Wednesday.
Blessings ??? pic.twitter.com/OWiltVTGsk
— Jalil Irvin. (@only1_lil) December 14, 2016
The Stone Mountain (Ga.) product is ranked a 4-star recruit and the No. 15 guard nationally.
Irvin told me he has “a strong relationship” with both Mahoney and Jones, adding “everything from the campus to the facilities to the fans and coaches there is great.”
The former Michigan commit visited Tennessee twice in the fall, catching games against Ohio and Alabama.
Days after reopening his recruitment, the 6-foot-4, 280-pound junior earned a Tennessee offer in late August. Irvin is cousins with Vols senior tight end Jason Croom.