With two weeks until National Signing Day (NSD)1, the traveling amusement park ride that is major conference recruiting is groaning and creaking as it spins into high gear with all of the manic, barely contained energy of a device put together by drunken carnies. It's the silliest of seasons, and each year seems to top the one before: recruits announce with hats! puppies! babies!; adults who should know better tweet insults at high school boys; and coaches praise recruits with the savvy to flip to Stater-bilt while decrying the faithless traitors who instead flip to State U. Most of the current Tennessee commits are solid commits, but we're in the stretch run, after which I'll do another round of depth chart stories. So, without further ado, here are the relevant recruiting stories for Tennessee fans this week:
three two major recruiting targets this weekend
With only a few spots left in an already overflowing class, the Vols were scheduled to host uncommitted running back recruit Derrell Scott, former Texas defensive tackle commit Courtney Garnett, and current Wisconsin defensive tackle commit Craig Evans, only to have Evans back out at the eleventh hour. Instead, the Vols will host Scott, Garnett, and current USF offensive line recruit Ben Knox, a name that seems to have come out of nowhere. 2
- Derrell Scott, running back. 5'10, 181. Rated 4 stars by Rivals. Here's the non-walk-on running back depth chart for next year: Marlin Lane (suspended for most of the summer last year), Jalen Hurd (coming off shoulder surgery), Treyvon Paulk (coming off major knee surgery), __________. The Vols desperately need another player here for depth, especially given the long recovery time and uncertain status of Paulk.
- Courtney Garnett, defensive tackle. 6'2, 280. Rated 3 stars by Rivals. Following JUCO defensive lineman Davonte Lambert's flip to Auburn, 3 Tennessee could use another player on the interior of the rebuilding defensive line. A New Orleans native, Garnett is a powerful athlete with a good frame currently being pursued by Tennessee, Oklahoma, Oregon, and USC.
- Craig Evans, defensive tackle. 6'3, 313. Rated 4 stars by Rivals. Currently committed to home state Wisconsin, Evans had a great week of All-Star practice where he was befriended by Vols commit and fellow All-Star Charles Mosley. With the late cancellation of his official visit, Evans is most likely out of the picture, opening the door for someone like former/current (who can keep track) Vanderbilt commit Michael Sawyers.
- Ben Knox, offensive tackle. 6'6, 259. Rated 3 stars by Rivals. Currently committed to USF, Knox is a tall, long-armed finesse player who lacks strength and toughness. There hasn't been any buzz about this guy at all, so your guess is as good as mine.
Kevin Mouhon decommits over Twitter
In one of the weirder stories of the week, Kevin Mouhon, a 4 star linebacker recruit from Georgia who had been committed to the Vols since the middle of the summer, inexplicably decommitted over Twitter amid rumors that he is considering the former home of Coach Butch Jones, Cincinnati. Sebastian Vena over at Bleacher Report has the story in all its unexpectedly bizarre glory: 4-Star LB Kevin Mouhon Decommits from Tennessee (BR).
Mouhon might have been asked to look around by the staff, as fellow longtime inside linebacker commit Gavin Bryant appears to have turned around his academic fortunes and no longer appears in danger of failing to qualify, but that's speculation.
Possible targets and decommits
Daniel Lewis over at Nooga.com has a nice rundown of a few possible Vols targets and few currently committed players who might be looking around. If you're a regular follower of recruiting news, you'll recognize most of the names like Adoree Jackson, but it's a well-written primer for those who aren't obsessives: UT recruiting update: Several key visits looming this weekend (Nooga.com).
It's never to early to think about dominating in-state recruiting again next year
Longtime friend of Rocky Top Talk Brad Shepard has a piece detailing the rise of in-state talent in the state of Tennessee, and the steps that the Vols need to take to lock down the best players again in 2015. It's worth a read over at Bleacher Report, even if the graphical interface occasionally gives me PTSD: Tennessee Football: How Vols Can Own In-State Recruiting Again (BR).
1. Traditionally held on the first Wednesday of each February, this year it falls on the fifth. For more, see here.
2. Scout.com updates a list of visitors by date. For more, see here.
3. Note that Lambert's grades prevented him from enrolling early at Auburn, and may prevent him from enrolling at all. For more, see here.