The 2015 recruiting class is a long way from getting to campus. But there's no such thing as being too early in getting a foundation for a strong crop of players.
Tennessee continued its recent recruiting success Friday as 6-foot-1, 220-pound inside linebacker Cecil Cherry of Frostproof (Fla.) High School committed to the Vols over early offers from virtually every major program in the country. Believed to be one of the top linebackers in the nation next year, Cherry gives UT a massive early building block. He hails from the same high school as legendary UT running back Travis Henry, but it is another former Vols runner who makes Cherry a legacy.
Cherry is the cousin of Tony Thompson -- a UT running back from 1987-90 -- who filled in for Reggie Cobb and Chuck Webb in 1990, stepping in to lead the SEC with 1,261 rushing yards and to push the Vols to a Sugar Bowl victory over Virginia. Now, if Cherry holds with his commitment, will carry on that legacy and wear the orange and white.
Cherry chose UT over offers from Florida, Alabama, Arizona State, Auburn, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Miami, Michigan, Mississippi State, Ohio State, Penn State, South Carolina, Wisconsin and others. If that offer sheet doesn't really do anything for you, check the highlight reel. More than impressive. When he hits people, they fall. He finished his sophomore season with 116 tackles, two forced fumbles and two interceptions.
Obviously, it's going to be difficult hanging onto a player from Florida who is coveted by all of the Big Three, along with every other major program in the country. Hopefully, his ties to Tennessee and the recruiting prowess of Butch Jones and Tommy Thigpen will keep him in the fold for 20 months leading up to National Signing Day 2015.
I thought this article's headline was pretty cool: Cecil Cherry Guilty On All Charges of Smashing Ball Carriers. This kid is the real deal. He is also the teammate of athlete Kaleel Gaines, who has a ton of offers such as Tennessee, Penn State, Auburn, Ohio State and Miami.
Cherry is already UT's fifth commitment of the 2015 class -- joining Texas as the only Division I FCS team with that many. He joins defensive end Andrew Butcher, offensive linemen Jack Jones and Zach Stewart and athlete Jaylond Woods as Tennessee's early, early commitments.
Welcome to Knoxville [future boom], Mr. Cherry!