This year's National Signing Day is less than a week away, but the Tennessee Volunteers have nearly got this class filled up, so they began looking toward next year.
On a day when several in-state prospects visited the Hill and two official visitors traveled to Knoxville in this year's class, the Vols got a big time head start with two nice commitments for the 2013 class.
Memphis defensive end Jason Carr -- who was being courted by big-time programs such as Alabama, LSU and Oregon -- chose the Vols over offers from the Ducks, Nebraska, Kentucky, Mississippi State, Cincinnati, Ole Miss, Syracuse and others. The White Station product is almost a sure-fire four-star player in next year's class and already has great size at 6-feet-6, 260 pounds. Carr's brother is in school in Knoxville at UT, and his family has been UT fans for years.
Also, Lenoir City athlete Camion Patrick -- who is expected to play wide receiver for the Vols -- went ahead and pulled the trigger after getting an offer last month.
Carr needs to work on his upper body, but he recently showed out at the Athens, Ga., Nike camp. He has garnered a lot of recent attention from the two SEC teams that played in the national championship game.
As for Patrick, once UT offered, it was really a matter of time before the 6-2, 200-pound receiver committed to the Vols. Patrick is from less than a half hour from Knoxville and used to live there. It was believed he'd be the next to commit for next year. He isn't very polished, but he's got great size and is an incredible athlete who dominates lesser competition in East Tennessee.
Patrick caught 41 passes for 774 yards and five touchdowns as a junior while also rushing for 441 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 9 yards per carry after transferring from Clinton to Lenoir City High last year.
The Vols already have a head start on last year when they only had one commitment -- Imani Cross -- entering the summer. Now, the Vols coaches have caught up in evaluations, and Tennessee now already has four commitments for 2013 before this year's haul is in the books.
Patrick and Carr join future stud cornerback Mackensie Alexander of Immokalee, Fla., and Bradley Central offensive lineman Austin Sanders as Vols pledges for next year's class. Both those kids -- along with Carr -- have major offers. Patrick was going to be one of those players who needed to hit the camp circuit to earn his stars being from a small school in rural Tennessee.
But UT coaches knew they wanted both these kids, and after a year where UT only received two in-state commitments and only offered a few more than that, the Vols have a head start on a 2013 year that's going to be a banner year in Tennessee. Patrick and Carr make three in-state commitments, and UT hopes to get commitments from players like Jaylen Steele, Jaylen Reeves-Maybin, Corn Elder and Frank Herron sooner rather than later. UT could offer as many as 10-12 in-state players in next year's class and possibly more -- unheard of in Tennessee.