At this rate, Tennessee fans are going to come to expect a commitment every 48 hours or so. This time, good news came a bit quicker than that.
After Jalen Hurd called Volunteers coach Butch Jones to give his verbal pledge Thursday, another running back decided he'd go ahead and jump on board a little more than 27 hours later. This time, Alpharetta (Ga.) running back Treyvon Paulk of Milton High School decided to join the Big Orange Express, which has taken off in the past week.
The 5-foot-9, 195 tailback is rated a three-star prospect by 247 Sports but holds a 247 industry composite ranking of four stars. The composite uses a formula to detect what a player is rated throughout the big sites in the industry. Paulk is considered by 247 to be the nation's No. 23-ranked running back. He chose the Vols over offers from Ole Miss, North Carolina, Clemson, Vanderbilt, TCU, California, Georgia Tech, East Carolina, Kentucky, Louisville, Maryland, Minnesota, West Virginia and Wisconsin, among others.
The all-purpose back split carries this past year with Auburn signee Peyton Barber, whom UT tried to coax into coming to Knoxville late in the recruiting game. Paulk was also a teammate of five-star defensive end and Vols target Carl Lawson, who also signed with the Tigers.
Paulk joins five-star Hurd as UT's running backs in this class, and most indications are that the Vols will continue to recruit Georgia tailback Nick Chubb, among other elite backs. With numbers nowhere near where Jones wants them and with Rajion Neal exhausting his eligibility after this season, it would not be out of the question for Tennessee to take three running backs in this cycle. Jones and crew only signed Jabo Lee in the 2013 class.
Though Hurd is the recruiting class's big prize thus far, Paulk is built more like a back that Jones and running backs coach Robert Gillespie is used to working with. He'll fit in nicely as part of the 1-2 punch with Hurd for the future. He rushed for around 1,200 yards and 19 touchdowns for Milton.
For Paulk, the past few weeks have been interesting considering his courtship with the Vols. He was actually expected to pull the trigger and commit to UT several weeks ago on an unofficial visit that never happened due to a basketball game. When Jay Graham left Knoxville to go to Florida State, some thought that Paulk may cool a bit on UT since he had such a good relationship with the former Vols standout-turned-coach.
That turned out not to be the case. With recruits piling up lately for Tennessee and on the heels of such a huge weekend coming up on the recruiting front as UT is set to host some 100 prospective players, Paulk figured it was time to end the process. He is extremely close to Tennessee 2013 wide receiver commitment Ryan Jenkins, who has helped recruit his buddy to the Vols.
Paulk continues this ridiculous surge of momentum for the Vols that isn't expected to end anytime soon. In the past six days, UT has welcomed five new commitments into the fold to push them into the top six in the nation in recruiting rankings.
- Versatile three-star offensive lineman Coleman Thomas was the first to pop after visiting UT's opening spring practice last Saturday.
- Then, an even bigger prize landed Sunday night with the pledge of high four-star safety Todd Kelly Jr., who had offers from virtually everybody in the country.
- Legacy receiver Neiko Creamer made his decision final then on Monday when he decided -- like Kelly -- to follow in his father's footsteps and wear the orange and white.
- The big prize fell into our laps Thursday morning with five-star Jalen Hurd decided he'd commit to his home state school rather than go to anywhere else in the nation, because, basically, he had those options.
- Now Paulk gives Tennessee its second back in the class, and sixth pledge of the recruiting cycle.
The Vols are expected to take 30-31 prospects in this year's class. Welcome home, Mr. Paulk!