As Early Signing Day approaches, things are heating up on the recruiting front. Tennessee has a massive recruiting weekend ahead of itself, with some of the biggest targets in the class stopping in for a visit. This weekend is the last for recruits to make an official visit, if they are planning to sign early in December in favor of signing in February. This weekend will likely see some of the final pieces begin to fall into place. Many of the top prospects are still undecided with Tennessee looking to make a final push.
According to Rivals.com, Darnell Wright is the number six overall player in the class. He has long been considered a Vol lean, and is rumored to be visiting this weekend. Pairing Darnell Wright with Wanya Morris would give us a pair of five-star offensive tackles, which would bode well for the future of our offensive line. Pruitt is pushing to dominate the trenches like Tennessee did in the days of old. Darnell has elite size, length and athleticism to be a force for years to come, but most believe he will need to refine his technique to develop into the all-conference, of which his potential suggests he is capable. Chances Wright is a Vol: 3rd & 2
Eric Gray is the top-rated all-purpose running back in the country and is a Memphis native. He is the first ever three-time Mr. Football in the state of Tennessee. He has drawn comparisons to another in-state running back currently on Tennessee’s roster, Ty Chandler. He is capable as a runner and as a receiver out of the backfield. He was formerly committed to Michigan, but has long been thought to be eyeing the Vols. With an allegiance to the Wolverines no longer in the way, look for Gray to be a Vol soon. Chances Gray is a Vol: 3rd & 1
Noah Cain is another running back prospect whom the vols are interested in. He is a teammate of Vol commitment Chris Akporoghene at the prestigious IMG Academy, one of the nation’s high school D1 powerhouses. The Vols are working to get into the picture here and have secured a visit for the prospect. He will be here this weekend, as the Vols are hosting him only a week before he plans to decide. We will see if Tennessee is able to capitalize on the late momentum, though it seems like it may be too little too late. Chances Cain is a Vol: 3rd & 12
Another IMG Academy product, EJ Ndoma-Ogar is a long-time Oklahoma commitment, but is another that the Vols have made a push for as of late. He is one of the nation’s best offensive guard prospects, and is again teammates with current Vol commit Akporoghene. He is planning to sign early, but many have said that if he does not sign early in December then the Vols may stand a real chance with a month and a half longer to convince him to join UT’s 2019 class. Additionally, EJ is rumored to have hit it off on a visit with Darnell Wright, and would like to play alongside him. If UT can close with Wright, they stand a better chance with EJ. If Tennessee is able to secure both Wright and EJ, then they would almost certainly end up with the best offensive line class in the country. Chances EJ is a Vol: 3rd & 10
Jadon Haselwood is one of the top 10 players in the country and is widely considered the nation’s best receiver and is a Georgia native. He recently announced a top five and Tennessee made the cut. This has long thought to be a race between Georgia, Miami, and Oklahoma, but the Vols have remained in the picture for some time. A big time offensive coordinator hire, particularly one with a pass happy reputation could help our chances in convincing Haselwood to join the Vols. He likely ends up elsewhere, but a player of his caliber is worth noting and mentioning the work that Pruitt and his staff have done to get to this point. Chances Haselwood is a Vol: 3rd & 18
Another name to keep an eye on is Quavaris Crouch. At one time, Crouch was the highest rated recruit in the entire country. He is still considered a five-star by most parties but has dropped due to questions about whether he can remain healthy. If he can stay healthy, he has serious upside and could be a massive addition to the 2019 class. He could play either running back or linebacker. At this point, it is likely that he ends up at Clemson or Michigan, but Pruitt and staff seem determined to continue to recruit him and show him that they want him to be a part of this class. He is rumored to be visiting this weekend, and if he indeed makes it in, then that is a huge boost for the Vols in their efforts to bring him to Knoxville. Chances Crouch is a Vol: 3rd and 13
Christopher Russell is a player that has flown under the radar up to this point, but Auburn, Arkansas, and Tennessee are all making late pushes for the Dyersburg prospect. He is an in-state linebacker who many seem to think could be a hidden gem for the class. He has not gotten much national attention. However, with several SEC teams making a push for him late in the game, there is reason to believe that he would be a quality addition for the class at a position of need going forward. Chances Russell is a Vol: 3rd and 5.
The Vols are trending with Texas speedster Jaylen Ellis. Ellis is a wideout prospect who has talked about the relationship that he has with wide receivers coach David Johnson. He has also talked about teaming up with current Tennessee quarterback commitment Brian Maurer. The two formed a relationship over the summer at camps and have remained in touch. Ellis could be a perfect compliment to the likes of Callaway and Jennings, providing the pure speed receiver that would aid UT in taking the top off the offense. Ellis plans to visit this weekend and is planning a formal announcement at a high school all-star game though he is currently a soft commit to Baylor. Look for what he has to say about the Vols following his visit. Chances Ellis is a Vol: 3rd & 7
Coach Pruitt has the Vols in a good spot with some of the nation’s elite prospects. The Vols will finish strong and make a push for one of the top ten classes in the country. There is certainly still work to be done in recruiting and on the practice field, but UT is trending in a positive direction. Watch out for quotes from those visiting this weekend and enjoy the basketball game this Saturday as Tennessee takes on in-state rival Memphis. GBO.