On the heels of landing two blue-chip defensive backs, Tennessee coach Jeremy Pruitt filled another major need with a major pickup on Tuesday. Top-ranked JUCO defensive tackle Savion Williams committed to the Vols two days after leaving Knoxville after the weekend recruiting cookout.
— Qb’s Worst Nightmare👹 (@50reazons) July 31, 2018
Williams chose UT over Georgia, Maryland and others. It ultimately came down to back-to-back visits the 6’4″, 315-pound defensive lineman took last week, following up a two-day to Athens with a visit to Knoxville. It didn’t take him long to figure out that he wanted to be a part of what Pruitt is building on Rocky Top.
Williams’ commitment was a bit of a shock to UT fans who thought they were in for a big battle with a red-hot Bulldogs team that has been landing whoever they wanted on the recruiting trail for the past couple of years. But this is a victory Pruitt won over old fellow assistant Kirby Smart.
Williams is a Lackawanna Junior College product, and he prepped at Dr. Henry Wise High School in Upper Marlboro, Maryland, and he had a strong relationship with graduate assistant Joe Osovet, who was an innovative JUCO coach at ASA JUCO, where he recruited Williams out of high school, according to GoVols247’s Ryan Callahan.
Williams joins JUCO prospects Darel Middleton, a 6’7″, defensive end who is formerly of Oak Ridge, and the nation’s top-ranked JUCO linebacker Lakia Henry as potential instant-impact players in the 2019 class. As Pruitt attempts to rebuild a program that was torn down by the Butch Jones era, he is going after more JUCOs and graduate transfers, and UT hopes it pays off in a big way.
“I definitely know they have a decent amount of D-tackles leaving, and they’re kind of in rebuilding mode,” Williams told Callahan. “I know people kept telling me that. But that really doesn’t matter to me. As long as I get my opportunities and I’m going to play, then I really don’t care.
“But they have a lot of D-tackles leaving, and I feel like me and Darel Middleton are going to be a force to be reckoned with the next couple years.”
The upside for Williams is obvious. Not only is he a massive specimen who will likely stay at defensive end in a 3-4 defense but could bulk up to play on the interior if necessary, he also has three years to play three in Knoxville. So, even if he isn’t quite ready to come right in and give meaningful snaps, there’s time for him to develop.
He adds to the beef on the Vols’ defensive line class.
- Williams 6’4″, 315 pounds
- Elijah Simmons 6’0″, 353 pounds
- LaDarrius Cox 6’5″, 305 pounds
- Darel Middleton, 6’7″, 290 pounds
Williams is one of UT’s top overall targets, so it was huge news to get him in the fold, especially considering it came on the heels of the official word that Trey Smith has been cleared to play for the Vols in 2018.
BREAKING: Tennessee lands JUCO DT Savion Williams after recent visit to Rocky Top. Vols beat out UGA, WVU for @50reazons — a 6-4, 315 pound lineman with 3 years to play 3 seasons. pic.twitter.com/es7yhqANLZ
— Jesse Simonton (@JesseReSimonton) July 31, 2018
Pruitt believes in his evaluations above all else, and that fact has left some UT fans puzzled when the Vols “take” commitments from guys like Jalil Clemons, Elijah Simmons and Roman Harrison. But that doesn’t matter. These are jumbo prospects who can fly all over the field the way few on UT’s roster can or space-eating monsters who can plug run gaps.
Though some of the guys Pruitt took in the 2018 class weren’t the most heavily recruited, some of the early reports on guys like defensive linemen Kurott Garland and Kingston Harris, receiver Cedric Tillman, and cornerback Brandon Davis are positive. So, it speaks to Pruitt’s evaluations.
Nobody has to talk himself into Williams. He’s a guy virtually everybody who saw wanted. He’s also Jayson Swain-approved.
Latest #Vols commitment, Savion Williams:
— Jayson Swain (@SwainEvent) July 31, 2018
The commitment from Williams surges the Vols to ninth in the Rivals.com rankings and 14th in 247Sports. The Vols still have a ton of high-profile targets on their board with perhaps room for five more players. It’s always fluid, though, and a couple of the commitments currently in the class could choose to look elsewhere. LeDarrius Cox visited Auburn with his mother this past weekend, and he won’t be the last player who flirts with other teams.
But the Vols are thrilled to have a player of Williams’ caliber in the fold, and it continues the trend of getting quality prospects who are bigger athletes that can help the way the Vols look when they get off the bus and during the game.