The only way to put a forgettable ’18 National Signing Day in the rearview mirror is to move ahead to the 2019 recruiting class, and new Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt and Co., already have started building relationships they had to rush in this year’s haul.
One of those new relationships paid off with a big commitment on Thursday, just one day after the finishing touches were put on a successful half-class for the Vols.
UT legacy Jackson Lampley went public with his pledge to Pruitt and his staff, after committing to them privately a few weeks ago. Volquest.com’s Austin Price broke the news, and it’s not only a big-time player, it also comes at a major need position.
During his first few classes, former UT coach Butch Jones thrived on getting Vol legacies to commit to their family school with mixed results. Perhaps the biggest miss in that area came this past cycle when 5-star offensive tackle Cade Mays decommitted from Tennessee and spurned the Vols to play for hated rival Georgia. Mays left his UT commitment when Jones’ final season began spiraling out of control, and he didn’t give Pruitt a fair chance to lure him back.
Lampley made certain early on he wouldn’t do the same. His dream has always been to play for the Big Orange, and he made that a reality with his pledge. The 4-star offensive tackle from Montgomery Bell Academy is the nation’s No. 211 player on 247Sports, and is a top-300 prospect in the Composite rankings.
The 6’4″, 299-pound lineman already boasted offers from plenty of top programs, choosing UT over LSU, Auburn, Florida, Wisconsin, South Carolina, Arkansas, Mississippi State, Penn State and many others. His early 247Sports profile has this to say about his initial evaluation:
Lampley gets off the ball well and has a strong initial punch. He shows good power and strength. Lampley is comfortable run blocking or in pass pro. He is a good athlete and has good flexibility. Lampley is relentless and plays until the whistle blows. He can play too high at times, so he needs to improve his pad level, but he has a lot of natural ability and his best football is ahead.
Tennessee hopes to pair Lampley with 5-star West Virginia offensive lineman Darnell Wright, whom Pruitt already has met with multiple times. The Vols are aggressively starting the ’19 class, and with needs all over the field, getting Lampley is a great start. Two of Lampley’s friends are instate 4-star defensive end Joseph Anderson, and 4-star defensive end Bill Norton who already have offers from most of the major programs in the country. This can’t hurt UT’s pursuit of those two.
This upcoming season is another banner year instate, and though Pruitt and Co. are getting a late start in building relationships, this is a quality commitment who can get started with peer recruiting. Players like Trey Knox, Lance Wilhoite, Maurice Hampton, Norton, Woodi Washington and many others make this a loaded class in the Volunteer State. It’s a good opportunity for Pruitt to flex his recruiting muscle and put a subpar close to this past class behind him.
It always helps to get a player of Lampley’s ilk to get things rolling. His father, Brad, played offensive line for the Vols in the 1990s and was part of former coach and current athletic director Phillip Fulmer’s first recruiting class at UT. Lampley’s bloodlines run deep, and orange blood flows through those veins.
Pruitt has made it clear that he’ll go anywhere in the country to find the best players, but he didn’t have to travel far to get the one that started the 2019 class in fashion. Lampley was in UT’s back yard, and he will have every opportunity to step in, learn under Will Friend and be a key component in Pruitt’s rebuild.