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National Signing Day 2015: Drew Richmond signs with Tennessee over Ole Miss

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In a move that seemed foreordained after Richmond spurned the Ole Miss coaching staff to take an official visit to Knoxville the weekend before signing day, four star offensive tackle Drew Richmond signed with Tennessee today over Ole Miss.

There's a hidden Spaarti cloning cylinder under Neyland Stadium. That's the only answer.
There's a hidden Spaarti cloning cylinder under Neyland Stadium. That's the only answer.
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What you need to know

Name Hometown Position Height Weight 247 Composite 247 Position Rank Stars
Drew Richmond Memphis, TN Offensive tackle 6-5 310 0.9732 3 4
Previous Coverage
Drew Richmond decommits from Ole Miss http://www.rockytoptalk.com/2015/2/3/7968793/tennessee-vols-football-recruiting-drew-richmond-decommits-from-ole-miss
We Want Richmond! http://www.rockytoptalk.com/2015/1/31/7956503/we-want-richmond
Remaining 2015 Recruiting Targets http://www.rockytoptalk.com/2015/1/27/7920467/tennessee-football-recruiting-big-board-remaining-targets-2015

The final piece of a stellar Tennessee recruiting class fell in place Wednesday afternoon with the commitment of four/five star offensive tackle Drew Richmond. Richmond, from Memphis University School, had been committed to Ole Miss for months and was considered the crown jewel of the Rebels' recruiting class. With the extreme disparity in distance between Oxford, Mississippi (80 miles from Memphis) and Knoxville, Tennessee (400 miles from Memphis), the coaching staff had to battle just to get Richmond to take an official visit to Tennessee. Despite the distance and an occasionally hostile family atmosphere, Butch Jones never gave up on Richmond and pursued him right up until signing day. Once Jones was able to convince Richmond to take an official visit to Knoxville the weekend before signing day, the coaching staff pulled out all the stops to convince him that Tennessee needed him more than Ole Miss -- Richmond received a standing ovation at the Tennessee men's basketball game, and had dinner with a host of other recruits and early enrollees.

So what do the Vols get with Richmond's recruitment? On the field, Richmond more than lives up to the hoopla that's surrounded him -- he's a physically overpowering offensive lineman with good strength, balance, and overall athleticism. What sets Richmond apart from other dominant high school prospects is that he is barely scratching the surface of his overall talent level. Much like former Volunteer Tiny Richardson, Richmond can out talent most high school defensive linemen simply by showing up. The coaches at Memphis University School are some of the best at the Tennessee high school level, but Richmond is still not even close to realizing his potential at either a technical or a physical development level.

Richmond shows good overall balance and footwork, but can be put off balance by lapses in concentration and technique. He has good wingspan and sometimes uses his hands well, but at other times he gets sloppy and lets smaller defensive linemen into his body instead of using his fully extension and punch to keep them at bay. Richmond hasn't seen many defensive linemen with the physical tools to match up to him, so he doesn't always play as overwhelmingly on each snap as you might expect; much like another former Memphis-area lineman, Michael Oher, he can relax and let plays slip by him.

With proper coaching and time in the weight room, Richmond is an NFL prospect at tackle with a bright future as an All-SEC or All-American type player. Although his chances of starting at tackle next year for the Vols may be overblown, he's definitely one to watch as the Vols start fall camp. If redshirt junior Dontavius Blair falters, Richmond and fellow Vols commit Jack Jones (who enrolled early) may indeed find themselves thrown into the fire immediately.

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