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Tennessee Spring Football 2015: Commitment Watch at the Orange and White Game

Tennessee coaches are expecting an impressive list of visitors for Saturday's Orange and White game. Watch the game, but also watch the recruits watching the game.

Working for the weekend.
Working for the weekend.
Phil Sears-USA TODAY Sports

With spring practice in the books, Saturday's Orange & White Game provides a chance for fans to enjoy a substantial downpour obscuring everything not immediately in front of you wait, the forecast is getting worse, run for the hills or bring a homemade ark a slightly overcast day of football in Neyland Stadium. The Vols will also host a sizable collection of visiting recruits and currently signed players as the coaching staff continues to emphasize the importance of peer recruiting. Future Tennessee coach and unaging football cyborg Peyton Manning is also expected on campus, headlining a collection of Vol legends.

List of Expected Visitors

2016 Recruiting Targets:

Name Position Town
State Stars Commitment
Devante Brooks Tight End
Washington DC 4 Tennessee
Corey Henderson Wide Receiver
Shreveport LA 3 Tennessee
Ryan Johnson Offensive Tackle
Brentwood TN 4 Tennessee
Marquill Osborne Cornerback Cornelius NC 4 Tennessee
Daniel Bituli Outside Linebacker Nashville TN 4 none
Josh Brown Outside Linebacker Charlotte NC 4 Florida State
Landon Dickerson Offensive Tackle
Hudson NC 3 none
B.J. Emmons Running Back
Morganton NC 4 Georgia
Emmit Gooden Defensive End
Brownsville TN 4 none
Mecole Hardman, Jr.
Athlete Elberton GA 4 none
TaDarryl Marshall
Athlete Leeds AL 3 none
Chidi Okonya Defensive End
Riverdale GA 3 none
Janarius Robinson Defensive End Panama City FL 4 Florida State
Brodarius Hamm Offensive Tackle
Griffin GA 3 none
Donte Vaughn Cornerback Memphis TN 4 none


  • Bituli, Gooden, and Vaughn are all priorities for Tennessee because they're in-state and play premium positions.
  • Gooden committed to the Vols and then decommitted last year within the span of a few weeks.
  • Emmons is probably tied at the top of Tennessee's running back board with Evander Holyfield's son, Elijah. Although he's currently committed to Georgia, Emmons is being slow-played a bit by the Bulldogs because he still has some work to do to become academically eligible.
  • Several other top targets were originally scheduled to be on campus, including Georgia safety Nigel Warrior (son of legendary Volunteer Dale Carter) and Louisiana safety Chanse Sylvie. Warrior may still plan on coming to campus, but it's not clear whether or not he'll actually make it in.

Commitment watch: Alabama athlete TaDarryl Marshall and Georgia defensive end Chidi Okonya have both visited Knoxville several times over the last few months, with Okonya raving about the Vols' facilities. Although both recruits are rated three stars, Okonya in particular has the type of physical attributes that could cause him to shoot up the rankings following the summer evaluation period. Marshall seems enamored with Tennessee and has said that he plans on ending his recruitment soon, so it's likely he'll commit if coaches give him the greenlight to do so.

2017 Recruiting Targets:

Evaluating high school sophomores is for the most part a useless exercise, but there are a few trends worth noting here: (1) Tennessee's in-state talent level continues to grow, with 2017 expected to yield a bumper crop of recruits; (2) the greater Atlanta area remains one of Butch Jones' top recruiting priorities; and, (3) the Vols have gradually been making inroads into the recruiting strongholds of Louisiana and Detroit. Louisiana, in particular, was the source of several prominent Vols under head coach Phil Fulmer, but Tennessee has struggled to recruit the Bayou ever since Gerry DiNardo began the LSU revival. Tennessee has always relied on national recruiting, but Jones has been very calculated about the areas into which he's put resources-- he started close to home with Tennessee, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia. In the 2015 cycle, however, Jones began venturing further afield, making serious runs at elite players from Louisiana, Texas, and Michigan. It's an interesting trend to note.

Name Position Town State Stars Commitment
Breon Dixon Outside Linebacker Suwanee GA 4 none
Adrian Ealy Offensive Tackle Baton Rouge LA 4 none
Deangelo Gibbs Cornerback Suwanee GA 5 none
Maleik Gray Athlete La Vergne TN 4 none
Malik Herring Defensive End Forsyth GA 5 none
Tee Higgins Wide Receiver Oak Ridge TN 5 none
Hunter Johnson Quarterback Brownsburg IN 5 none
Donovan Peoples-Jones Wide Receiver Detroit MI 5 none
Cordarrian Richardson Running Back Memphis TN 3 none
Trey Sermon Running Back Marietta GA 4 none
Trey Smith Offensive Tackle Jackson TN 4 none
MJ Webb Defensive End Madison GA 4 none

2015 Signees on Campus

As usual, there will be a number of signed players on campus to take in the O&W game and assist with recruiting, including five-star defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie, offensive tackle and target of Ole Miss ire Drew Richmond, defensive end Darrell Taylor, two Abernathys (cornerback Micah and running back Ralph David IV), and linebacker Quarte Sapp.

How to Watch

In Knoxville: The Orange & White Game is free, but bring something waterproof and boots as the weather could be unpleasant. Gates open for Fan Day at 12:30 with autographs from 1:30 to 2:30 PM by position group.

For more information, check out the UT Sports FAQ: Gameday Information.

Out of Knoxville: The Orange & White Game will be broadcast on the SEC Network Alternate Channel, which varies by provider. ESPN3/WatchESPN will also stream the game on SECN+, which shouldn't matter to anyone, because it's the internet. The game will be rebroadcast multiple times on the SEC Network and ESPNU, including a first replay right after the game ends at 7:30 PM.

For more channel information, here's the ESPN lineup: Scroll down to Football.

Things to Know

Kickoff is at 4:00 PM, with two 15-minute running clock quarters in the first half. Following an intermission, the second half will feature two 12-minute running clock quarters. The scoring is a strange and bizarre collection of Butch Jones' favorites, but you really shouldn't be paying any attention to the score.