Taking a look back at last year's recruiting class, how they fared and how we think they'll project. Today, we examine a couple of commits from the cities of rival schools.
21. ALAN POSEY, 6-6, 305 OT ATHENS, GA [CLARKE CENTRAL HS]
Ratings: Rivals 3* No. 46 offensive tackle, Scout 3* No. 48 offensive guard, ESPN 4* No. 15 offensive tackle, 247 3*. Chose UT over Cincinnati, Clemson, LSU, Georgia Tech, Maryland.
Looking back: "Big Pose" was one of UT's earliest commitments and biggest recruiters throughout the recruiting process, befriending fellow commitment Devrin Young and working the phones for UT. Posey redshirted for the Vols this past year like all freshman linemen need to, and coaches believe he'll be able to help down the road. Dooley didn't say much about Posey or the other redshirt players this year, but I believe he could be in the two-deep at tackle as early as this year. He is a massive specimen who really needed to work on technique but has the size and strength to compete sooner rather than later.
Looking forward: With JaWuan James, Dallas Thomas and Antonio "Tiny" Richardson all back, Posey may not be in UT's top three tackles, but he isn't far behind. Playing at a relatively thin position, he may be called on this year. The Vols went out and tried very hard to get massive five-star tackle DJ Humphries, but it appears he'll stick with his commitment to Florida, which means UT will have to go with what it has at the position, and that includes Posey. He had a nice offer sheet, and a lot of teams were willing to wait on him to develop. He has a nice ceiling for the Vols.
Final projection: Posey and Kerbyson have that nasty streak like some of those Vols linemen of old like Will Ofenheusle and Rob Smith. Thankfully, neither were relied upon last year, but that doesn't mean they somehow are inferior and won't be able to help. Both have good futures, and I expect Posey to be a starting tackle or at least in the mix within the next three years.
20. TREVARRIS SAULSBERRY, 6-5, 280 DT GAINESVILLE, FLA. [GAINESVILLE HS]
Ratings: Rivals 3* No. 56 defensive tackle, Scout 3* No. 74 defensive end, ESPN 3* No. 75 defensive end, 247 3*. Chose UT over Arkansas, Michigan, Michigan State, Florida, Central Florida, South Florida, Iowa State.
Looking back: Saulsberry came to one of UT's summer camps, showed out and was offered a scholarship on the spot. After driving back home to Gainesville, he committed to coaches the next day. Despite several big-time programs coming calling late such as Oregon, Michigan and the hometown Gators, Saulsberry stuck with his commitment. He redshirted last year, which was huge for him and the Vols. Over the season, he packed on 15-20 pounds and is currently around 280 with hopes -- and the frame -- to carry 300 pounds. Coaches want him exclusively at defensive tackle, and he will be able to help there possibly as early as next year.
Looking forward: Coaches could have kept Saulsberry as a jumbo defensive end -- along with high school teammate and classmate Jordan Williams -- but they want him at tackle, and he has the size and strength to be a force there down the road. While he will probably crack the rotation this year, I wouldn't look for him to do anything but provide 15-20 snaps per game. It takes a while to adjust to playing big boy ball in the SEC in the trenches, but I do believe he'll be a nice player.
Final projection: I hope he could give UT what tweeners like Malik Jackson and Robert Ayers wound up giving, and coaches believe he has that potential. Still, it would be better for UT if he could help sooner rather than later, and strength and weight are two things he needs to gain in order to do that. As I mentioned, he has four years left, so the redshirt was massive, and I think he will be a solid three-year contributor certainly with the potential to start in the interior.