Can Vols Start a Whitehaven Pipeline in Football and Hoops?

It’s common knowledge that Coach Jeremy Pruitt is making Memphis a huge priority in the class of 2020.  The Vols have targeted upwards of ten Memphis prospects in the class, and Memphians make up four of the top 7 prospects in the state according to 247 Sports.  Pruitt and Co. have already made inroads into the city, having signed OL Jerome Carvin and RB (LB?) Jeremy Banks in his first class (along with DL Emmit Gooden and Greg Emerson, from West Tennessee towns of Brownsville and Jackson, respectively) in his first class and following that up with the addition of OL Melvin McBride from Memphis’s Whitehaven HS in December.

Whitehaven will continue to be a popular stop for the Vols staff, as the Tigers have a LB trio that features two four-stars in Bryson Eason and Martavius French, who have offers from most of the SEC as well as other national powers like Oklahoma, along with well as Tamarion McDonald who is currently being heavily pursued by Ole Miss.  Eason and French were both on campus twice last spring/summer, and as the Vols continue to look to rebuild the LB position both of those prospects will certainly be purused.

It’s not just football, though, where Whitehaven has some real prospects in the class of 2020.  SG Matthew Murrell was recently bumped to the #78 overall prospect and is widely considered to be the best prospect in the city of Memphis regardless of class outside of University of Memphis 2019 signee James Wiseman, the #1 overall player in that class.  As we discussed here, Murrell fits the bill of what Coach Rick Barnes is looking for in terms of the culture of the program, and the Vols have already spent quite a bit of time recruiting him.  Notably, as we’ve also detailed, Tennessee has set itself up for a monster class of 2020 in terms of sheer talent it’s in deep with, and Penny Hardaway certainly won’t let Murrell go without a fight (see what I did there?).  Whitehaven’s basketball team features another player with a Tennessee offer in 7’4 C Jordan Wilmore.  Wilmore is definitely a project and given how Tennessee has positioned itself not just with so many bigtime players in the class but also with a handful of big men like PJ Hall and even recent visitor Dylan Cardwell, Wilmore is likely down the list currently.  But Tennessee did offer him in January, and Barnes does not hand out offers lightly, so while he’s raw he could definitely be one to watch.

McBride is a gregarious individual who no doubt will be doing some peer recruiting between now and when he enrolls in Knoxville over the summer, which won’t hurt in the least.  So as both head coaches Pruitt and Barnes spend time all over Memphis, expect there to be a Big Orange presence in the halls of Whitehaven HS for the next year as the Vols look to build a pipeline on both the gridiron and the hardwood. MartavʼnPYl

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Seems easier in football than in basketball. Memphians have long resigned themselves to losing top football talent to the SEC. But the general attitude for basketball players is that Memphis gets the top local talent that it wants and everyone else gets the rest. The only exceptions to this are Kentucky, Kansas and Duke. The hatred for Memphis players (Tony White, etc) who go to UT is real. And the graft, also known as taking care of or love and support for our own, is equally real – provided you are a star who contributed to an elite team.