Tennessee met one of its biggest needs in the 2018 recruiting class with Friday’s pledge of Florida running back Jashaun Corbin. It wound up just the beginning to an Orange & White Game weekend.
A lot of rain couldn’t dampen how hot the Volunteers were on the recruiting trail as UT added three more commitments the past two days, and there are even a few more who could pop soon. Though there were no huge-name pledges out of the bunch, all three are vital to the Vols’ class and have high upsides.
Corbin remains the highlight, but the other three pledges keep UT moving along in this year’s class and getting off to a great start in the 2019 haul, too. The most high-profile of the pledges came from 3-star quarterback Michael Penix Jr. of Tampa Bay Tech. The 6’3″, 182-pound southpaw signal-caller has liked the Vols for a long time, but he committed on Saturday, choosing UT over offers from Oregon, Arizona, Rutgers, South Florida, Florida Atlantic and others.
Though Penix doesn’t have the greatest offer sheet in the world, the Vols identified him early in the process and wanted him for a long time. In a year where they want to take two signal-callers, it was important to get one early, and Penix looks like he has the ability and the upside to come in and compete. He immediately left Knoxville and participated in a camp in Washington D.C., where 247Sports writer Steve Wiltfong said he was a “steady” performer during Elite 11 drills.
Tennessee also hosted top QB target Adrian Martinez, who told GoVols247’s Ryan Callahan he had a “really good visit” this weekend and had a decision to make between UT and the Cal Bears, where he’s been committed for the past five months. The Vols would love for Martinez to be their second QB commit in this class to go along with Penix.
The biggest surprise pledge of the weekend came from fast, dynamic receiver Jatavious Harris of Milledgeville, Georgia, who had South Carolina as his leader prior to his weekend visit to Knoxville. The 6’2″, 182-pound pass-catcher vibed well with UT receivers coach Kevin Beard and pledged on Sunday, giving Tennessee its second commitment from a receiver in this class. Harris joins Manchester, Tennessee, receiver Alontae Taylor, and the two already have quite a rapport on social media. Harris has great size and is quick in the open field, as his HUDL video shows.
Harris had offers from the Gamecocks, Florida, Louisville, Kentucky, Miami, Michigan State, Mississippi State, Oklahoma State and others.
He and Taylor have been chirping all weekend about other possible commitments, and some names that are being thrown around as possibilities are Alabama linebacker Jacquez Jones and maybe a 2019 commit or two.
One player in next year’s class who made his verbal pledge is Chattanooga athlete Cameron Wynn, who may well be the fastest player in the state, regardless of class. He plays both offense and defense for Notre Dame High School, and though he played quarterback last year, the Vols are recruiting him to play receiver. He joins soft commitments Kendrell Scurry and TJ Sheffield as UT pledges in that class. All are in-state receivers. All are also early 4-star recruits on 247Sports.
Tennessee has made a habit in recent years of loading up on prospects early and then over-recruiting them if necessary. None of these players on the surface look like candidates for that; they’re all quality players who a lot of teams wanted.