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Elite Defensive Tackle Shy Tuttle Commits to Tennessee

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Shy Tuttle, a four star defensive tackle and one of the top players in the country, committed to the Vols today.

Bud Elliott, SB Nation Recruiting

Where did he come from?

Tuttle committed to Tennessee from North Davidson High School in Lexington, North Carolina.

How did he end up at Tennessee?

Tuttle, a nephew of former star Clemson Tigers wide receiver Perry Tuttle, has been high on Tennessee's recruiting wish list ever since the coaching staff began doing evaluations for the 2015 class. With the commitment of five star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie to the Vols and apparent academic trouble for another Vols' recruiting target, four star defensive tackle Tim Settle, Tuttle became the number one priority for Tennessee on the defensive side of the football.

Butch Jones made numerous trips to see Tuttle, including a visit during the Vols' most recent bye week following the loss to Oklahoma. The most important recruiting effort, however, probably came from five star Tennessee defensive tackle recruit Kahlil McKenzie, who reportedly talks and texts with Tuttle regularly (the two also follow each other on Twitter and retweet each other often).

Although Clemson made an early push for his commitment, Tuttle's recruiting became a Tennessee-North Carolina battle relatively early in the process, with Tar Heels head coach Larry Fedora reportedly making him UNC's top priority in state. Unfortunately for Fedora, Tuttle attended East Carolina's complete destruction of North Carolina's defense in Raleigh Greeneville, later tweeting (and deleting) about the sorry performance by the Tar Heels.

Tuttle is a high four star player in the 247 Composite, a five star player in the 247 Sports rankings, the top rated player in the state of North Carolina, and in the top 50 overall recruits nationwide (as ranked by the Composite and every individual service). You may remember that Tuttle was initially rated a five star player in the 247 Composite, but he did not attend any of the summer recruiting events, and subsequently fell a bit in the rankings. Now that the camp silly season is over and real high school football has begun, Tuttle could end up reclaiming his fifth star if he continues his dominating performance on the field. He holds scholarship offers from virtually every big name school in the country, including Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Texas.

How will he fit into the Tennessee defense?

Tuttle is a physical specimen with surprising speed and elite change-of-direction skills for his size. At 6'3 and 315 pounds, Tuttle is too much for all but the most elite players at the high school level. Because he faces double (and sometimes triple)-teams on every snap, Tuttle has developed a surprisingly sophisticated array of pass rush moves, including a combination swim/chop hand move and a sidestep (hat tip to Bud Elliott for pointing out the sidestep move in his scouting evaluation linked below) maneuver rarely seen at the high school level. Like fellow Tennessee recruit Kahlil McKenzie, Tuttle already has the physical maturity of a college player as a senior in high school; with time in the weight room and in a college nutritional plan, he will be even more physically dominant at the point of attack. If there's a knock on Tuttle, it's that he will need to work on consistency with leverage as he rarely faces players strong or agile enough to block him one-on-one. SBNation's Recruiting Director Bud Elliott scouted Tuttle earlier this year, and his report can be seen here: Nimble North Carolina Defensive Tackle Shy Tuttle.

As a sophomore, Tuttle led the North Davidson defensive line with 18 sacks, 26 tackles-for-loss, and 97 tackles, while forcing four fumbles (recovering two) and breaking up five passes. That incredible stat line earned him a place as a sophomore on the 2011-2012 All-American team. Last year, facing a steady diet of double teams as opposing offensive coordinators schemed to stop him, Tuttle still managed 4 tackles-for-loss and 73 tackles, while breaking up five passes and scoring on a truly entertaining fat-guy-makes-an-interception run (seen in the video below).

Shy Tuttle's High School Highlights

Tuttle is a truly elite defensive tackle prospect comparable to fellow Tennessee commitment Kahlil McKenzie, so I'll repeat what I said about McKenzie when he committed:

Barring injury, Tuttle is likely to merit a starting position at defensive tackle as soon as he steps foot on the Hill. With his rare combination of size, power, and speed, he is a throwback to late 90s Tennessee defensive linemen like John Henderson and Albert Haynesworth, players who could both penetrate and hold the point of attack at the same time. Tuttle is the rare defensive lineman who can change the entire offensive gameplan, as coordinators must plan how to deal with his disruptive ability in the interior line, leaving one-on-one matchups on the outside. Tennessee's highly rated defensive line recruits from the 2014 class like Dewayne Hendrix and Joe Henderson will greatly benefit from the presence of an interior threat like Tuttle because his ability to collapse the pocket means that quarterbacks lose an escape route. Expect the Vols to decisively move out of the defensive line doldrums with Tuttle's commitment.