It was already shaping up to be a solid defensive front seven recruiting class for the Tennessee Volunteers. On Friday, the Vols added a momentous -- and mountainous -- commitment into the fold.
Six-foot-six, 380-pound defensive tackle Daniel McCullers gave his verbal pledge to UT just hours after the Vols secured Sal Sunseri to be their new defensive coordinator.
McCullers had been thought to be leaning toward UT ever since Alabama flipped Alphonse Taylor from Florida State, ending the Crimson Tide's recruitment of McCullers, who was reported to be deciding between UA and UT. Mississippi State also offered him as well as Texas A&M and North Carolina State. He is originally from Raleigh, N.C. and has played the past two seasons at Georgia Military College in Milledgeville.
Though he is often compared to former Alabama defensive tackle Terrence Cody -- his nickname is even "Mount McCullers" -- he is bigger and taller than the current Baltimore Ravens nose guard. He told several services that Tennessee presented the best fit for him.
With the hiring of Sunseri and the commitment by McCullers, this goes a long way in UT transitioning from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4 perhaps as early as this year. Tweets from Rivals, the Knoxville News Sentinel and GVX247 have indicated this morning that sources are saying Sunseri will bring a 3-4 base with him to Knoxville.
The Vols had a recruiter at Georgia Military constantly pumping UT in Willie Carmichael, an athlete from Greeneville who committed to UT last year but didn't qualify. McCullers was desperately needed by a UT team needing to get bigger and better all over the field. In this class, the Vols now have commitments from 255-pound linebacker Dalton Santos, 230-pound linebacker Otha Peters, 220-pound linebacker Justin King, 300-pound defensive tackle Danny O'Brien, 270-pound defensive lineman Trent Taylor, 270-pound defensive end Darrington Sentimore, and 240-pound defensive end LaTroy Lewis. Now, they add a semi truck to the garage.
The Vols now likely have personnel more suited for a 3-4 base defense, though it will be a major transition if they go that direction in such a critical year for Dooley and his coaching staff.
McCullers said he committed to UT prior to Sunseri taking the job, but this is a quality Friday the 13th for the Vols.He was mostly recruited by Justin Wilcox, but Lance Thompson and Terry Joseph also worked on him as well as Dooley.
Also, McCullers is set to qualify with no hurdles beyond the standard load of classes he must pass this semester. He is a four-star defensive tackle on Rivals and the No. 6 overall JUCO player, a three-star and the No. 38 overall JUCO player on 247 Sports. Scout says he's a three-star and 340 pounds.
After the turnover in the recent few weeks with the movement of recruits, McCullers is the 19th public commitment for the Vols, and he'll have three years to play two in Knoxville.