Tennessee already sits in prime shape with a lot of its top prospects for the 2018 recruiting class, but there are few bigger needs than impact running backs.
The Vols certainly grabbed one of those on Friday afternoon on Orange & White Game eve, when Melbourne, Florida, running back Jashaun Corbin announced via Twitter that he was committing to UT.
The 6’0″, 191-pound runner from Holy Trinity Episcopal Academy is a 4-star prospect on Rivals and a 3-star prospect on 247Sports, but his ceiling is very high, as evidenced by his offer sheet. The teams that have given him offers number more than 25 and include the likes of Southern Cal, Clemson, Florida State, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Miami, LSU, Oregon, South Carolina, etc. It’s basically a who’s-who of Football Bowl Subdivision powers.
Corbin just visited Knoxville this past week and raved to recruiting sites about his relationship with UT running backs coach Robert Gillespie. Also, he has developed a rapport with new offensive coordinator Larry Scott, who recruits Florida for the Vols. After totally nearly 2,000 yards as a prep junior last year, UT sold Corbin on sliding into the Alvin Kamara role.
He’s proven he can do everything, with more than 1,100 rushing yards, more than 600 receiving yards, 19 total touchdowns and the ability to produce in the return game. He has 4.43 speed, and if you don’t think he’s a legit back, check out his high school junior HUDL.
Without question, this is a player UT will have to fight to hang onto, but he’s an incredible early pickup to go along with instate offensive linemen Cade Mays and Ollie Lane, Volunteer State athlete Alontae Taylor and cornerback Shatar McClay. Corbin is the fifth overall pledge and the first for UT from out of state.
Tennessee is in need of elite runners in this year’s class. After Jalen Hurd quit the team and Alvin Kamara headed to the NFL, the Vols are left with John Kelly as the starter, and he’s entering a junior year that could be a breakout campaign. While nobody is betting on him leaping to the NFL after this year, it can’t be ruled out. The Vols have only Carlin Fils-aime behind him as a scholarship runner currently on the roster.
Though UT did well in the 2017 class recruiting running backs, it missed out on elite prospect Cam Akers, who wound up at Florida State and showed out in spring drills. Who the Vols did get is former Montgomery Bell Academy standout Ty Chandler, who should step right in and play immediately. Chandler was the nation’s No. 5 running back and had a huge offer sheet.
They also added power runner Trey Coleman and all-purpose back Timothy Jordan, and hopefully one [or both] of those guys can become quality players with some time to develop. Neither of those players will wow you with their ranking, but they’ve both got some upside as niche backs.
As for Corbin, he’s a potential game-changer, and though some services don’t have him as highly ranked as others right now, he’ll skyrocket sooner or later. That’s not lip service; he’s that good. You don’t have that kind of offer list if you’re not dynamic, and his highlight reel proves it.
Now, the Vols will turn their attention to other running back targets as they should take at least one more. The board right now is thick and talented, highlighted by guys such as instate runner Master Teague, Alabama back Tae Provens (who calls UT his leader), Lyn-J Dixon, Jamal Currie-Elliott and many more. Those are the guys you hear about the most right now, and the Vols find themselves right in the mix for all of their commitments.
It’s great having Corbin in the bag this early, too. With a big prospect list expected to head to rainy Knoxville this weekend, the Vols may not be done adding commitments. But this one started with a bang.