No recruiting coordinator? No problem.
The Tennessee Volunteers were dealt some difficult news when safeties coach and recruiting coordinator Terry Joseph left Knoxville for Nebraska, leaving UT short a solid recruiter. The departure didn't affect Winter Garden, Fla. linebacker Corey Vereen, who committed to the Vols and defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri on Friday just hours into his visit.
Vereen was courted by emerging ace recruiter Darin Hinshaw, who has had a role in three of Tennessee's five commitments thus far. The Orlando-area linebacker -- who probably fits in best as a "Jack" or pass-rushing, stand-up defensive end in UT's 3-4 scheme -- is a legit 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds. Some services list him as being even bigger -- like, around 240 -- and he sports speed in the high 4.5s.
The Vols impressed Vereen when he first visited, and UT offered him early along with Florida State [though whether it was committable at this point is in question], Clemson, South Florida, Central Florida, Ole Miss, Minnesota, Georgia Tech, Duke and others. There was some buzz that he may pull the trigger this weekend on UT's Junior Day, and it took him just a few hours to go ahead and commit.
Noted Florida recruiting writer Michael Langston called Vereen "underrated" and a "tackling machine." He is big, athletic and incredibly strong, and he has done terrific work in the classroom, too, which could translate nicely onto the football field if he's equally cerebral.
He fills a huge need for the Vols in this class. After missing on Dalton Santos and Otha Peters, UT needs to sign at least 4-5 linebackers, and Vereen was one they desperately wanted to get on board in a hurry. Vereen is listed as the ninth-best prospect in Central Florida by the Orlando Sentinel, and he had a school-record 16 sacks last season coming off the edge. He also is a very good candidate to be an early enrollee, as he is on pace to graduate early from West Orange High School outside of Orlando.
While doing the camp circuit, Vereen is the type of jumbo athlete who can blow up with his performance. He fits perfectly into the scheme Sunseri wants to employ, and hopefully, the Vols will be able to secure a commitment from somebody like Huntsville LB Cameron Toney soon to give them the middle linebacker prospect they need. Tennessee probably wants at least two Jack LBs and three other LBs in this class. Memphis's Frank Herron is another kid UT is very high on early for the Jack position, and other linebacker prospects have emerged as well.
Vereen joins five-star cornerback Mackensie Alexander as UT commitments from the state of Florida, though Alexander is a "soft" commit at best right now. The Vols also have commitments from in-state players WR Camion Patrick, OL Austin Sanders and DE Jason Carr -- all rated four stars by various services. Hopefully, UT will have at least one player pull the trigger on Junior Day this weekend. If that happens, you'll be able to read about it right here.