First of all, for those of you who don't yet know, who is Drew Richmond?
|Recruiting Service||Stars||TN Rank||National Rank|
|Rivals||#1 Overall||#12 Overall|
|247||#2 Overall||#54 Overall|
|ESPN||#1 Overall||#58 Overall|
|Scout||#3 Overall||#104 Overall|
As you can see from Richmond's rankings, he's a pretty big deal. Also take note of his position -- the Vols' worst unit this past season was the offensive line, and securing one of the premier offensive tackles in the entire country would be the icing on an already delicious 2015 NSD Big Orange cake!
Richmond committed to Ole Miss on September 9th of last year. At the time, Richmond was considered a Tennessee lean all the way up to the weekend before his commitment. He took a visit to Oxford the weekend before, fell in love with the place and committed. Keep in mind Butch Jones had been working on Richmond for over a year at that point, so obviously they have a long-standing relationship. Richmond also has been consistent in his pledge but also to continuing the recruiting process even after committing. Since his commitment in September, Richmond has visited Tennessee, Ole Miss and Alabama numerous times, never once shutting down his recruitment.
Richmond was recently quoted as saying, "I could see myself playing anywhere really'. Soon after that, rumors began to swirl that Tennessee had made major headway with Richmond and he may have once again become open to the idea of committing to Tennessee.
An interesting note to Richmond's recruitment, both Butch Jones and Nick Saban had in-home visits with Richmond on Wednesday. It's safe to assume both of their goals were to get Richmond on campus the weekend before signing day. So where did Richmond come???
I'm here ! pic.twitter.com/yFC3Mwu9Xd— Drew Richmond (@TheDream_75) January 31, 2015
Also of note, Richmond's mother and aunt made the trip. Richmond is notoriously close with his mother, if Tennessee has any chance of gaining Richmond's pledge, they are going to have to win over his mother as well.
Give credit to Tennessee's early enrollees for their recruitment of Richmond as well. Players obviously want to play with the best in the country, and if Richmond comes to Tennessee he'll go up against the best defensive line in the country every practice for the next three years. Kyle Phillips, Darrin Kirkland Jr and Kahlil McKenzie's got close to Richmond as they played in various All-Star games and camp over the years.
Prior to Richmond's visit, Kahlil McKenzie reached out to Vol Nation:
Here's last night's dinner with Richmond (via Darrin Kirkland Jr's twitter page):
And after that at the Rock (via Kyle Phillips' twitter page):
At today's basketball game against Auburn:
Along with fan reaction during a timeout break:
Needless to say, the Vols are pulling out all the stops in their efforts to sign Richmond. With Ole Miss top linebacker Leo Lewis decommitting on Friday night, while visiting LSU, the Rebels find themselves about to fall out of the recruiting ranks all together. It's Richmond's choice right now, try and salvage the Ole Miss class, or come join the rest of the All-Americans at Tennessee and perhaps overtake Alabama as the number one ranked class in the country! #RichmondToTheHill #DreamTeam15