Last weekend, the Tennessee Volunteers received another commitment in the 2016 class when linebacker Daniel Bituli, the No. 1 overall recruit in the state of Tennessee, pledged his services to the Vols. Mere days later, however, the Vols found out they missed out on one of their top remaining targets in the 2016 class when four-star running back B.J. Emmons committed to Alabama. Emmons had recently decommitted from the Georgia Bulldogs and was considered a Tennessee lean for a while before committing to the Crimson Tide.
Bituili's commitment gave the Vols 13 commitments in the 2016 class, but Emmons would've filled arguably the biggest position of need remaining in Tennessee's 2016 class. Now that Emmons is likely no longer an option for the Vols and with limited space remaining in the class, Tennessee's choices moving forward are intriguing.
Tennessee desperately needs depth at running back and wide receiver moving forward, and Butch Jones and his staff are attempting to address those needs in the 2016 recruiting class. Thus far, the Vols have commitments from two projected wide receivers in JUCO receiver Jeff George andfrom Louisiana and a commitment from athlete TaDarryl Marshall who projects as either a wide receiver, running back, or potentially a defensive back in college. But no true running back has yet to commit to the Vols, and they are still looking for a real "headliner" at receiver in the class.
So where do the Vols turn in recruiting now? Here is a look at some of the top targets and best targets remaining at positions of need for Tennessee in the 2016 class.
Positions of Need
As previously mentioned, the Vols need running back and wide receiver commitments in the 2016 class. But with several of their top targets off the board, Tennessee's options have become more limited.
The biggest name at running back still being targeted by the Vols is currently committed elsewhere. Five-star running back Kareem Walker is currently an Ohio State commit, but Tennessee is still pursuing him hard, and fellow New Jersey prospect and Tennessee quarterback commit Jarrett Guarantano is trying to get him to visit and reconsider. Walker is considered a potential flip candidate because of this, and the Vols won't give upon him easily. Four-stars Elijah Holyfield and Carlin Fils-Aime are more realistic targets for Tennessee, but Holyfield appears to be leaning more towards Georgia as of late and Fils-Aime seems to more interested in Auburn and Miami. Three-star Trevor Speights is also a realistic option. Holyfield did announce his top five schools yesterday and gave a projected commitment date via Twitter as well.
I will be committing on September 4 at Woodward Academy. #12+1— Elijah Holyfield (@EH_taught_me) July 24, 2015
At wide receiver, the Vols are still pursuing several prospects, namely five-star Georgia receiver. The Lawrenceville, GA receiver is one of Tennessee's top remaining targets in the 2016 class and would be one of the highest-rated players in the Vols' 2016 class and would fill a huge need in their class as well. The battle for Davis' commitment will likely be a Georgia-Tennessee fight moving forward. Four-stars Diondre Overton, Binjimen Victor, Trevon Diggs, and Donnie Corley are players the Vols are high on and are showing interest in Tennessee as well. Mykel Jones, Tre Nixon, and Freddie Swain are names to watch at receiver as well.
Offensive line is always a position of need in recruiting, but that's especially true for the Vols given all the offensive line issues of late. Tennessee is in on several highly-rated linemen in the 2016 class still, and their top target at the position is four-star tackle Landon Dickerson out of North Carolina. Dickerson has offers from just about every top program in the country, and Virginia Tech, Auburn, and Florida State appear to be Tennessee's top competition to land him. Jauan Williams from Washington D.C. is a huge offensive tackle prospect that the Vols are pursuing heavily, and in-state lineman Bryce Matthews is another linemen the Vols are looking to add in the class.
Top Overall Targets
Some of Tennessee's top targets have already been covered, such as Kyle Davis and Landon Dickerson, but the Vols are looking at other talented players besides those at the greatest positions of need. The No. 1 overall recruit in the 2016 class, five-star defensive tackle Rashan Gary, is still someone the Vols are hot on the trail for. Gary is another New Jersey player that Guarantano is attempting to recruit to Tennessee, and landing the top-ranked player in the country would be a huge headline for the Vols. Derrick Brown is another five-star defensive tackle the Vols are pursuing, but he appears to be a Georgia Bulldog in waiting.
Continuing the theme of Georgia and Tennessee fighting for commitments is five-star athlete Mecole Hardman Jr. out of Elberton, GA. Tennessee legacy player Nigel Warrior is a four-star safety who also appears to be choosing between the Bulldogs and Vols. Butch Jones has done a good job so far of landing highly-rated Tennessee legacy players, but Warrior appears to be more of a toss-up than previous legacy players for the Vols.
Nigel Knott and Joejuan Williams are a couple cornerbacks the Vols are pursuing, and Williams is the 2nd overall player in the state of Tennessee according to 247Sports. And another in-state player the Vols are looking to land is four-star defensive end Emmit Gooden. Although the Vols appear pretty set along the defensive line and especially at defensive end, landing Gooden would still be a big boost to the 2016 class.