Going a little third person this morning. I should say right up front X is not a big fan of Rivals and their ratings. Hey, it is the end of May and there is not much going on so why not pour through their updated 100 top 2014 prospects.
In my opinion, services that promote a philosophy of prejudicing their ratings in favor of prospects that participate in their camps versus those that either cant or choose not to is not a service that I take seriously.
Letís look at the prospects in the top 100 Tennessee is not only recruiting but has a legitimate shot (at least at May 21st) at landing.
First, before I get started, all I will say about this isÖ..I find it hard to believe there are 5 running backs in America that better prospects than Jalen Hurd. He comes at #19 and would likely be rated higher if he was attending Rivals camp which he hasnít yet this spring.
The first legitimate target is rated #20 Jalen Tabor a cornerback from Washington DC. Tennessee has a commitment from Taborís teammate DíAndre Payne. Tabor recently released his top 8 and Tennessee made his cut.
The #1 wide receiver on Tennesseeís board is Josh Malone #38. Malone, an in state prospect holds over 30 offers, will likely see his stock continue to rise during the summer as he camps and continues to visit schools. His recruitment can still be labeled as wide open . However, Tennessee is right in the middle of it. Malone is an early enrollee too so weíll know about where Malone is going to school sooner than later.
Jalyn Holmes #48 is one of Tennesseeís top targets at defensive end. Holmes has been receptive to Tennessee so far and has struck up a good relationship with Tommie Thigpen. Key will be getting Holmes back to campus this summer.
Tennessee made linebacker Korie Rogersí (#52) top three schools. However, Tennessee still has work to do here.
Tennessee likes inside linebacker Clifton Garrett from Joliet, Illinois (#55). Need to get him on campus this summer before I believe Tennessee has a real shot at landing Garrett.
Need I say anything about #59 Dillon Bates. Still find it very hard to imagine there are #58 better high schools prospects across the land than Dillon Bates.
Appears Tennessee is in the top two for #66 rated quarterback David Cornwell from Norman, Oklahoma. I will have more on Cornwell later this week. I think Tennessee is more in the mix with Cornwell than others think.
Tennessee is a finalist from wide receiver #68 Demarre Kitt from Tyrone, Georgia. Josh Malone (#38) is clearly the #1 wide receiver prospect on Tennesseeís board. Kittís finalist are Clemson, Tennessee, and Ohio State. I tend to believe Kitt is headed to Clemson or Ohio State not Tennessee.
Tennessee has made runs at Georgia running backs Nick Chubb(370) and Adam Choice (#76). With Tennessee already having Hurd and Treyvon Paulk committed, I think Choice and Chubb will likely end up playing their college football at some other venue.
Tennessee has made a run at Linebacker Nyles Morgan (#83) from Crete , Illinois and Defensive Tackle Thomas Holley (#84) Brooklyn, New York. Both talk favorably about Tennessee but Tennessee needs to get these prospects to campus this summer before I will believe there is legitimate interest. Holley is a very intriguing prospect having only played organized football for really less than one year and already has close to 20 offers from schools all over the country.
Tennessee is battling Mississippi State for in state linebacker Patera Wilson (#85) from Memphis, Tennessee. I think Mississippi State and Tennessee are his top two schools and the key to Tennessee landing Wilson is getting him and family to campus multiple times during the summer and fall.
Prospects like offensive lineman like Isaiah Wynn (#89), Andy Bauer (#95), Jamarco Jones (#97), and Steven Moss (#100) all are prospects Tennessee that have Tennessee offers but I believe it is a long shot for Tennessee to land any of the above.
I purposely didnít list cornerback Adoree Jackson (#9). Jackson is a talented football and track athlete. He has talked of visiting Tennessee but I donít see Tennessee being a serious player for Jackson. Two reasons. I donít see Jackson leaving the west coast plus as an accomplished track athlete he wants to run track in college. Tennesseeís track program is frankly in shambles right now. Tennessee will not be able to land athletes like Jackson until the track program is fixed.
Also, Tennessee is trying to get involved with defensive tackle Derrick Nnadi (#34) from Virginia. However, right now, Tennessee is a long shot there.
More to come later this week.
'Later this week (Thursday I believe), Tennessee offensive line target Orlando Brown is expected to announce where he plans to attend college. Brown, from Duluth, Georgia (Peachtree Ridge High School), is a mountain of a kid. Not even 17 years of age yet, this kid stands almost 6'8" and weighs somewhere around 350 to 360 pounds or more. You probably know his name. Brown's father was an NFL lineman also known for his massive girth. You would expect this kid to continue to grow
If you keep up with recruiting, it would be a shock if Brown did not pick Tennessee. First, he loves Tennessee. He has been on campus twice and has struck up a nice relationship with the coaching staff and a number of Tennessee players and commitments from the Atlanta area. Next, he is a smart kid. He knows what Tennessee is losing next season across the offensive line. He also sees there isnít much behind the guys that are leaving. Tennessee is telling him he will have a chance to come in and compete for a starting position. The kid has good genes and definitely has talent to do so. Whether or not he can get himself in shape will determine how fast he gets on the field. His other two finalists according to the services are Oklahoma and Arkansas... two schools Brown has yet to visit.
This has been an odd recruitment. One which I have followed because I think this kid has a chance to be very good. Early on in December Brown announced 8 or 9 schools he considered his favorites. His initial list included Georgia and Florida. Florida at least early on seemed to be his presumptive leader. Then, in March, he shuffled the deck. His new list included Tennessee, Alabama, Oklahoma and Arkansas. Odd because none of the schools in his new list were on his original list.
Personally, I think some schools have not recruited Brown very hard because he is carrying a lot of bad weight. I feel certain many of these schools are concerned whether Brown has the discipline to get the weight off and keep it off.
If he does and can, this kid has a chance to be a very good SEC offensive lineman. Brown has an A+ offer list with offers from many of the premier schools across the country.
I think a number of these schools want to see him back away from the table a bit before they get serious about recruiting him. Not Tennessee. Tennessee has been aggressively recruiting Brown.
Tennessee sees Brown as a kid that can clear a path as a run blocking right tackle or if he loses 30 to 40 pounds and can keep it off could ultimately replace Antonio Richardson.
Watch his tape and you can see the talent and athleticism this kid possesses. He stonewalls virtually every kid he competes against in these camps. For a kid that has grown this much this fast and as massive as he stands, he has very good footwork. The biggest concern about Brown will remain does he have the discipline to get himself in shape to play in Butch Jones' fast paced offense.
For the star gazers, Brown is a 3 star prospect who has probably eaten himself out of being a 4-star prospect. If he starts getting his body in shape and dominates like expected this summer and fall, he'll likely gain another star. He will also continue to attract attention from the better programs in college football.
'Iím glad Tennessee made his commitment conditional on Jackson getting his academics in order and being able to get in school by January.
I have changed my mind on Jackson. Jackson is exactly what this receiving corps needs. Jackson is a dawg.... a football player. This team needs a few more dawgs and not so many choirboys.
Could be a fairly interesting month of May recruiting wise based upon what I'm hearing and seeing.....
Tennessee finally offered in state defensive tackle Michael Sawyers from Nashville Ensworth. This should have happened weeks if not months ago. Hope Tennessee hasnít allowed Ole Miss to get out in front too much with Sawyers.