Despite a disappointing season that saw the Vols finish short of a bowl, coach Butch Jones is keeping the excitement pumping with an elite recruiting class. Today he added one of the biggest pieces in the 2014 recruiting class with the commitment of Josh Malone. Malone--a Rivals five-star and 247 four-star--immediately becomes the second highest rated prospect in the class, behind five-star running back Jalen Hurd.
Malone is listed at 6'3" and 190 pounds and boasts a 40 time under 4.5. He has garnered a 97.9 composite ranking on 247 sports, making him a consensus four-star (the cut-off between four and five stars is 98 on the 100-point scale), and received offers from Ohio State, Florida State, Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, Florida, LSU, USC, other USC. . . I could go on. Needless to say, Malone is a huge commitment for the Tennessee coaching staff in their first full recruiting class.
Malone is just the second wide receiver in the 2014 Tennessee recruiting class (although five commits are listed as "athlete," a designation that usually indicates a running back, receiver, defensive back, or linebacker), but both are expected to contribute early. Malone, of course, will have early expectations because of sheer talent level at one of the easier positions for freshmen to make an impact. The other receiver, four-star Lavon Pearson, is the #2 JUCO receiver in the country according to 247 and should also make an impact immediately. These two, both early enrollees, join a budding star in freshman Marquez North and should quickly turn wide receiver from a position of inexperience and lack of depth to a genuine position of strength for the Vols.
Malone's commitment gives the Vols 33 commitments for the 2014 class, 16 of whom are early enrollees. Tennessee has 30 spots available but are expected to try to sign more. How is a matter of much speculation. But the big class has the Vols at #2 in the 247 composite rankings with the second most four/five star commits in the country.
Welcome to the Vol family, Josh!