Tennessee landed its second commitment in the past three days with Sunday’s pledge of Heard County (Georgia) High School athlete Aaron Beasley. It could wind up helping fortify the back end of the defense for years to come.
Or, it could help the Vols shore up running back recruiting.
That’s why Beasley’s commitment is a big deal — he can play either way. UT loves him as a hard-hitting safety or a big running back. At 6’1″, 220 pounds, Beasley is a big name even if he doesn’t have a lot of stars by his name. The 3-star prospect could wind up seeing a ratings bump, especially if his offer sheet is any indication.
Beasley chose the Vols over Florida State, Auburn, Florida, Miami, Nebraska and others. He did tell GoVols247’s Ryan Callahan that he’s a Georgia fan, so if the Bulldogs wind up offering the Franklin, Georgia, native, it may be tough to hang onto him. But he loves the Vols, and it’s been that way for some time.
— Aaron Beasley (@deuceofficial2) June 10, 2018
Beasley was recruited by UT safeties coach Charles Kelly, who recruited him since his days back at Florida State, too. Kelly may wind up having a monstrous weekend as the Vols also got Anthony Harris back on Friday. Though Harris is just 180 pounds, he has the frame to easily pack on 20 pounds and be a hard-hitting safety. Truth be told, Beasley could move up another level if he keeps growing and be a linebacker.
His size actually may be a deterrent in coverage; he looks like a typical in-the-box safety who can come up and be a force in the run game, but he’s never going to have the wiggle to be exceptional in coverage.
In his recruiting commitment stories, Beasley mentions former Seminoles safeties Derwin James and Jalen Ramsey a lot, so that sounds like at least he thinks it’s going to be a safety. That would be fine with the Vols, who still need several cornerback commitments, but safety is looking like a solid spot.
Aaron Beasley’s high school highlight reel; Tennessee’s new commit knows how to deliver punishing hits from the secondary https://t.co/9ApMYj0UbP
— SEC Mike (@MichaelWBratton) June 10, 2018
It may not be a stretch to see his ultimate destination in the offensive backfield. UT coach Jeremy Pruitt loves big backs from his days at Alabama, and it’s obvious that’s what he wants to employ at Tennessee, especially after a commitment from Jeremy Banks in the 2018 cycle and a transfer from big-bodied Michigan State runner Madre London, who has one season left to play.
Much like a lot of the other players the Vols have taken under Pruitt, Beasley has options and positional flexibility.
If you like stars, you may snarl your nose at Beasley, but that would be ridiculous. He’s an excellent prospect who had plenty of options, and he’s the kind of guy that either Kelly or running backs coach Chris Weinke would love to have and be able to mold.
UT is now up to 16th in the recruiting rankings for the 2019 class, according to the 247Sports composite ratings.
This also means Tennessee continues to be a force in Georgia. This makes 6. Offensive lineman Wanya Morris, JUCO linebacker Lakia Henry, receiver Ramel Keyton, tight ends Jackson Lowe and Sean Brown, and now Beasley hail from the Peach State, which is fertile enough to outfit many of the top programs in the country with star players.
After a slow start, the Vols remain hot on the recruiting trail. It’s still going to be interesting to see how this class shapes up at several positions, including quarterback, running back and cornerback. Those are major needs, and while the Vols have a ton of options, there aren’t any guarantees right now.
Everybody also wants to know if UT can close the deal on the nation’s top two players in offensive tackle Darnell Wright and running back Quavarius Crouch. Those two things are perhaps the biggest storylines in the cycle.
But Pruitt was known as a formidable recruiter at Alabama, Georgia and Florida State, and he’s doing that at UT.