A New Dawn

Spotted on campus early this morning, the clouds hovering over Neyland stadium were painted orange. The moment was a perfect reflection of the direction that the program is headed in. Year one had its highs and lows, but as time goes on, the reasons to be optimistic grow. The future is bright, and recruiting is as well positioned as it has been in a decade.

The cornerstone for the 2020 recruiting class is in the fold. Harrison Bailey is more than a year away from his signing day, but he will certainly be a significant piece for Pruitt’s third recruiting class. Ranked as the third highest rated pro-style quarterback in the class, Bailey plays for Marietta High School, where he has been a three-year starter, leading into his senior season.

As far as quarterback prospects go, Bailey has all of the intangibles. He has great size, listed at 6’ 4” and 220 pounds with time to continue to grow into his frame with his senior year not beginning until August. His hands measured just shy of eleven inches which would be close to the largest currently in the NFL. He is an excellent student in the classroom as well as on the field. Bailey has worked extensively with quarterback guru Tony Ballard, who is renowned for working with some of the top quarterback prospects each year in the Atlanta area. Look for Bailey to compete for his fifth star this summer as he camps alongside many of the nation’s elite prospects. Many anticipate he will earn the coveted five-star quarterback status. If you are interested in reading more about Bailey, Bleacher Report posted a great article regarding the future ahead of him with the Vols, find it here. While the article is from a couple years ago, it touches on many of the attributes that excite college coaches and scouts about Bailey.

What Bailey brings to the class of 2020 reaches beyond than the player’s remarkable potential. Harrison Bailey brings a face to the class and plans to persuade top tier talent to accompany him in Knoxville.  Arik Gilbert is one of the nation’s top ten prospects for the class, as well as the number one prospect in the state of Georgia. Gilbert also happens to be a teammate of Bailey’s, which gives Tennessee a leg up with a player who will be one of the most heavily sought-after players in the country next cycle. Undoubtedly, he will also be a priority target for the Vols. There are two other players from Marietta, BJ Ojulari and Jake Wray, who are ranked in the national top 100 and top 150 respectively. Coach Pruitt will likely key on each of them as well for next years class. With the singular addition of Bailey, Tennessee has put itself in a favorable position with several of Georgia’s premier prospects for next year. The final factor working in UT’s favor is that Ramel Keyton, a talented Marietta receiver, will be in Knoxville this upcoming season, trying to sway his friends and former teammates to join him in donning the orange. Fans can expect a Marietta pipeline to Tennessee for years to come.

It is early, but the commitment that Pruitt secured earlier last week in Bailey is a massive leap in the right direction toward assembling a strong class in the year 2020.  For Tennessee to be successful, the football program has to recruit well from the state of Georgia. All indications are that Pruitt plans to do just that. In his first calendar year with the program, he has developed strong relationships and ties with some of Georgia’s most esteemed programs. It may just be the beginning of a new day in Tennessee football. As Pruitt and his staff continue to seek out the nation’s star players, fans eagerly anticipate the aligning of the stars required to return Tennessee football back to national prominence. Look for Bailey to kick start that for next year’s class.

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