Mid-May Recruiting Musings

Tennessee RB commitment Ebony Jackson was offered by Alabama over the weekend, making those who felt like the Vols staff got in early on the Atlanta-area star look prescient.  The 6’2, 210 pound track star has both the big body Tennessee covets at the position but also the game-breaking ability due to his elite speed, and while he seems like a firm commitment at the moment –his pledge wasn’t out of the blue as Tennessee had been recruiting him for a while before he committed while on a visit to Knoxville – an offer from the Tide will likely give him something to think about.  What the Bama offer does is validate to a degree the Vols’ evaluation of Jackson, as the Tide has not only been at the top of college football for some time but has been churning out NFL RBs with that size profile for years

One of Tennessee’s top targets, RB/LB Trenton Simpson, named a Top 5 of North Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn and Miami.  Instate UNC has been the perceived frontrunner for a while but UGA seems to be surging and has an OV set up for June 14th, two weeks after he visits Auburn officially for their annual Big Cat Weekend.  Simpson was named the “Alpha Dog” of The Opening regional in his hometown of Charlotte and is fast becoming one of the most coveted prospects in the country.  The Vols have work to do here to overtake the Heels and Dawgs – the good news is that, having already hosted him for junior day in February, Tennessee is in line to get him back to campus between those two other SEC officials.  It will be imperative that they make that visit happen

At the same camp in Charlotte, Tennessee QB commitment Harrison Bailey continued his strong spring by earning an invitation to Nike’s Elite 11 Finals in late June while at the same time winning QB MVP over some of the other top QBs in the classes of 2020 and 2021.  Bailey has been a dogged peer recruiter as the face of Tennessee’s class and him being more and more of a high profile prospect can only help that cause

Marshall grad transfer OL Alex Locklear, the brother of current Vol OL Riley Locklear, recently committed to Utah after a local West Virginia newspaper reported that he was likely headed to Knoxville.  Locklear doesn’t profile as someone good enough for the Vols to use an initial counter on for a one-year rental; however, he’s a solid lineman and at worst gives the Utes added depth and at best for them earns a starting spot.  While this may seem non-Vol related, the Utes faceoff against instate rival BYU the week before the Cougars travel to Knoxville in what looks to be a swing game of sorts for the Vols in the early season.

Tennessee got some tough news a few weeks ago when top WR target Rakim Jarrett committed to LSU on an official visit to Baton Rouge.  The Vols got more bad news when top OL target Tate Ratledge committed to UGA on Monday, and could see another top target commit elsewhere if DL Justin Rogers commits to Kentucky the week after.  Neither Jarrett nor Rogers appear likely to completely shut things down this early in their respective recruitments, however, and the Vols still have an official visit with Jarrett available, so expect Tennessee to continue to recruit both regardless of what Rogers announces

JUCO DB Art Green officially visited over this past weekend and came away all but naming Tennessee his leader.  Green, who got one of his first bigtime offers from the Vols in February, is a 6’2, 200+ lb CB who is an early enrollee from Hutchinson C.C.  Since his Tennessee offer he’s since gotten scholarships from the likes of UGA, UF, and Texas A&M, showing what kind of prospect that Pruitt and Co. once again got in early on.  Were Tennessee to land Green’s pledge it would be the 2nd high-level JUCO EE on the 2020 commitment list along with DL Jordan Davis, setting the Vols up with a pair of instant impact players around which to build the defensive class and give Tennessee some much-needed momentum headed into the summer

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