Class Snapshot: Tennessee
It's a massive, program-changing class that Tennessee head coach Butch Jones and his staff have corralled during his first full recruiting cycle in Knoxville.
Class Snapshot: Tennessee (34 commits)
Current Rank: No. 6 nationally, No. 4 Southeastern Conference, (0.8908 average 247Sports Composite Rating)
Top Commit: Wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn./Station Camp) is the No. 5 wide receiver prospect in the 2014 class according to 247Sports Composite rankings and the No. 36 prospect overall. The Vols kept Malone, one of 14 early enrollees in this class, in-state, beating out Florida State, Clemson and Georgia for his services.
Class Strength: You have to have players on the defensive line and a lot of them to compete at a high level in college football, particularly the SEC and Butch Jones and staff have assembled quite a defensive line group. Defensive tackles Dimarya Mixon (West Mesquite, Texas) and Owen Williams (El Dorado, Kan./Butler Community College) are already enrolled. Mixon was a 2013 signee for Nebraska, but academic issues delayed his enrollment, re-opened his recruitment and the Vols were resourceful in landing him. Defensive ends Dewayne Hendrix (O’Fallon, Ill.), Derek Barnett (Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Academy), Joe Henderson (Cleveland, Ohio/Shaker Heights) and Cory Thomas (McCalla, Ala./McAdory) all have promising upside and could compete for snaps this coming season. The Vols are trying to hold off Mississippi State for Thomas and to a lesser extent Missouri for Hendrix. Massive in-state defensive tackle Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn.) is 6-foot-4, 350 pounds and athletic for his size. He could play either side of the ball when all is said and done. Tennessee may not be finished on the interior, either. Former Texas commit Courtney Garnett (New Orleans, La./St. Augustine) and Wisconsin commit Craig Evans (Sun Prairie, Wisc.) both officially visit Knoxville this weekend.
Sleeper: Linebacker Jakob Johnson (Jacksonville, Fla./Ribault) is originally from Germany, but the 6-foot-4, 240-pounder on film looks like he’s taken to American football quite well. He’s big, athletic and will knock you into next week. He’s the one to watch to possibly replace A.J. Johnson in 2015 and it would not be a surprise to see him play a significant number of snaps in 2014. Johnson, like the others, is one of the 14 who enrolled early.
Top Remaining Target: They aren't the team to beat, but the Vols are one of several teams teams (USC, LSU, UCLA and Florida are the others) in the mix for the nation's No. 1 cornerback prospect, Adoree' Jackson (Gardena, Calif./Serra).
Remaining Needs: Tennessee needs depth at running back and the Vols are in good shape for four-star Derrell Scott (Havelock, N.C.) and will have LSU commit Darrel Williams (Marrero, La./John Ehret) in for an official visit this weekend and J’vonte Herrod (Kennesaw, Ga./North Cobb) in on Jan. 31. The Vols already have four-star Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn./Beech) enrolled and have a commitment from Treyvon Paulk (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton).
Top Recruiter: Linebackers coach Tommy Thigpen has been either the primary or secondary recruiter on a whopping 19 Vols commits this cycle, including the primary on Malone and elite junior college offensive tackle Dontavius Blair (Garden City, Kan./Garden City Community College). Thigpen ranks as the No. 5 recruiter nationally and the No. 4 recruiter in the SEC according to 247Sports recruiter rankings for 2014.
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