What else can be said about the week that Tennessee has had on the recruiting trail? Statistical analysis shows that there is no such thing as momentum in sports. Well, since Sunday, when 5-star LB Dylan Brooks decided on the Vols, he’s been joined by the following:
4-star DB Kamar Wilcoxson
4-star WR Julian Nixon
#1 JUCO RB Tiyon Evans
5-star LB Terrence Lewis
Further, Tennessee appears to have serious juice – as in possibly impending commitments – with 4-star RB Cody Brown, 4-star ATH Kaemen Marley as well as 4-star QB Kaidon Salter, 4-star LB Aaron Willis, and his high school teammate 4-star DL Katron Evans, the three of whom have commitment dates set for May 10th.
The Vols still have needs in this class, for sure, even if they sweep the group above. Those are particularly clear on the OL and DL, where the class currently has zero and two commitments, respectively. In particular, at DL an emphasis likely needs to be put on bigtime JUCO prospects like Jamond Gordon, Marquis Brown, and Zykevious Strong given the fact that the Vols are set to lose at least seven DL after the 2020 season. But the boards at both positions have a multitude of bigtime prospects on them, and at this point every single elite recruit in the country is taking notice. At the same time, with 15 commitments on board already, in theory there are only 10 spots left in this class, which means maybe the Vols have to be slow down this commitment rush.
Prediction: Pruitt and Co. are going to ride this momentum as long as it lasts. I expect them to be position agnostic (i.e., not say, well we’re full at this spot so we won’t take another elite talent there). I also expect them, to a large degree, to not care about “the numbers” either. It is of course only very late April, and we all know how things can change in recruiting even in normal years. There will likely be decommitments from the current Tennessee list, and at the same time there will be players Tennessee covets that are currently committed elsewhere who will shake loose over the next several months. So don’t expect Pruitt, who plays the recruiting game as well or better than any Head Coach in America, to hamstring himself by worrying about positions and the 25-scholarship rule. He knows that in order to win at the highest level you have to collect as much elite, future NFL talent as you can. Then of course you have to develop them and coach well during the games, but he and this staff have proven they can do those two things already in his first two seasons in Knoxville. So just like Jeffrey Tambor tells his future son-in-law in The Hangover, you never walk away from a heater. Expect Pruitt and Tennessee to follow that advice and keep putting on more steam.