While the results on the field may be up-and-down in Butch Jones' first year in Knoxville, the results on the recruiting trail continue to be nothing but up. This morning the Vols got yet another commitment, as Dewayne Hendrix, a four-star defensive end from Illinois, made his pledge to Tennessee. Hendrix is the Vols' fourth commitment of the class on the defensive line, a huge position of need with all four starters from 2013 set to graduate at the end of the year. All four commits are listed as defensive ends, so expect the Vols to move one or two players inside. Hendrix, however, at 6'5" and 255 pounds, is the second smallest of the defensive end recruits and should stay on the outside.
Hendrix has been considered a Tennessee lean since visiting for the Orange and White Game, but he has stated that he wanted to make absolutely sure that no other place compared. He took an official visit to Missouri this week, and it evidently didn't, as he announced his commitment to Tennessee less than 24 hours later. Hendrix also claimed offers from Florida, Ohio State, and a directional California school (Southern, in this case).
Hendrix is a consensus four-star, and Rivals, Scout, and 247 all list him among the top 11 defensive ends in the country. According to the 247 composite rankings, which combines the ratings of all major scouting services, Hendrix is the 115th best high school player in the country and 8th best strong-side defensive end. His commitment moves the Vols to second place behind Alabama in the 247 team rankings and gives them 14 four-star recruits--the most in the country. Tennessee is now first in Scout's rankings.
Hendrix is the 28th pledge to the 2014 Tennessee recruiting class, but there's still plenty of work to be done. The Vols are still pursuing Evan and Elliott Berry, four-star in-state receiver Josh Malone, five-star linebacker Clifton Garrett (although Tennessee is still chasing LSU here), and multiple targets at running back and defensive tackle. The limit on scholarship players in the 2014 class is 30, but Tennessee seems not terribly concerned. Current commit Kameel Jackson's junior college situation is a major question mark, at least one other commit is a risk of not qualifying, and there are persistent rumors that one of the lower-rated commitments may have an offer of either an immediate scholarship or a grayshirt, depending on how the numbers work. And, of course, there are always a couple of decommitments in the days and weeks before National Signing Day. The numbers will all have to be worked out eventually, but right now, it's just nice to see more talented commitments rolling in.
Welcome to the family, Dewayne!