While Alabama made efforts to close strong, Jeremy Pruitt and the Tennessee staff were able to hold off the Tide and secure a commitment from four-star linebacker Henry To'oto'o -- the No. 44 overall prospect and No. 7 player coming out of the state of California in the 2019 recruiting class -- on National Signing Day.
To'oto'o helps Tennessee address a glaring need on the depth chart at linebacker and enters aas the second-highest rated player in the class, helping close what has been strong first full cycle for Pruitt and the Vols. After finishing No. 21 in last year's team rankings, To'oto'o's commitment has Tennessee up to No. 13 in the 247Sports Composite.
Nick Saban and Alabama's coaches pushed hard for To'oto'o late in the game. There were in-home visits at the end of January and To'oto'o's final official visit was to Tuscaloosa, alabama. Still, relationships that were built up by assistant coaches Brian Niedermeyer and Kevin Simon -- who played for Tennessee and at To'oto'o's De La Salle High School -- won out as the California prospect with SEC dreams eventually chose the Vols.
"One thing I really like about coming out here every time I've come out here is a family environment," To'oto'o told 247Sports last month after a trip to see the Vols. "Everything's been tight. People come together close, and that's pretty much it."