Tennessee received some bad news for the present this weekend when projected starting slot receiver Josh Smith went down with a collarbone injury.
The future at the spot looks a little brighter after Monday night.
On Eclipse day, the Vols cast a big orange shadow on the Sunshine State by plucking a speedy Florida commitment in receiver Shocky Jacques-Louis. With limited spots remaining in this nearly-full 2018 recruiting class, UT needed a play-making pass-catcher, and they zeroed in on the former Kentucky pledge.
The Vols continue to prove their presence in the Sunshine State, and though Jacques-Louis didn’t have a committable offer from any of the Big Three in the state, he did have some quality offers. The Fort Myers (Dunbar HS) product had offers from Michigan, Mizzou, Georgia, Louisville, Kentucky, Michigan State, North Carolina, South Florida and others.
Tennessee fans who follow social media figured UT may be getting some good news tonight when, earlier in the day, Jacques-Louis notified Twitter he had some big news coming.
The Vols have led this race for a while now, and they sealed the deal when SJL called coach Butch Jones and WR coach Kevin Beard to deliver the good news on Monday.
The name of SJL’s game? Speed, speed and more speed. The 6’1″, 175-pound receiver looks like an ideal player to slide into Smith’s spot in the slot in the future and compete for reps with two other Florida products in Tyler Byrd and Latrell Williams. Mississippi freshman Jordan Murphy could see some action at the position in the 2017 season as well.
As for Jacques-Louis, he won’t be on Rocky Top until ’18, and he continues the Tennessee surge in this year’s haul. The Vols currently have the top-ranked class in the conference and the sixth-best group overall nationally per 247Sports.
Jacques-Louis plugs in nicely. He’s got super talent, and he also has that Florida swagger you like to see.
With Jacques-Louis, the Vols probably are done at the receiver position in this year’s haul. Manchester (Tennessee) stud 4-star Alontae Taylor and Georgia product Jatavious Harris are the other two pass-catchers in the group, and Jacques-Louis rounds out a well-rounded class. Harris has a bit of size and athleticism, Shocky provides the speed and Taylor is an ideal blend of both.
“When I went up there they showed me a family atmosphere that I hadn’t felt before,” Jacques-Louis told Volquest.com’s Austin Price. “I feel that at home, but I’ve never experienced that at a school till I visited Tennessee. No other school had that. My homeboy Shanon (Reid) and Tyler (Byrd) is there. They are in the SEC and who wouldn’t want to play in the SEC.”
Tennessee zeroed in on Jacques-Louis as the guy the Vols wanted to complete the class at the position. Now, it’s going to be interesting to see how UT makes the numbers work from here on out.
Though it appears Tennessee has just two more spots, the Vols definitely want to take offensive tackle Jerome Carvin, cornerback Joe Horn and a pass-rushing defensive end. They’ll do that and make the numbers work. Tennessee coach Butch Jones has been known to part ways with commitments over the past couple of seasons, but there aren’t a lot of guys in the Vols’ class this year who is expendable.
This is a good, quality class full of star potential and guys who fill big-time needs.
Jacques-Louis is one of those. The Vols got a whole lot faster on the perimeter with this commitment, and the South Florida trio of him, Byrd and Williams are going to look good running past defenders in the future if somebody can get them the ball consistently.
This is a guy the Vols singled out, stole from an SEC East rival and are happy to have to close the class.