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National Signing Day 2016: Commitment Watch

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If you're waiting for those last few crucial commitment announcements, you're not alone. Here's the schedule for the top four uncommitted prospects Tennessee has a shot at.

This guy's future backfield mate. Legacy and legacy...
This guy's future backfield mate. Legacy and legacy...
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Vols receive early Flipsmas present as 4* DB Tyler Byrd flips to Tennessee

Longtime Vols commitment Carlin Fils-aime stayed quiet during his brother Tyler Byrd's recruiting process even though he really wanted to bring Byrd to Knoxville with him, respecting Byrd's commitment to Miami. However, when Tennessee hired away Byrd's primary recruiter (and interim Miami head coach) Larry Scott, Fils-aime wasted no time in letting Byrd know that he needed to see the facilities and coaches Tennessee had to offer. The brothers toured Tennessee's facilities together with their father on the last visit weekend, and Byrd was blown away by the attention from the Vols' coaching staff. That attention paid off in a big way late Tuesday night as the 4* defensive back/athlete flipped from Miami to Tennessee the night before National Signing Day.

With 4* DB Marquill Osborne, 3* DB Desmond Henderson, and 3* DB Baylen Buchanon already committed to the Vols, Byrd competes an impressive quartet of players in Tennessee's secondary.

National Signing Day Commitment Schedule

Name Hometown Commitment Time Position Position Rank 247 Composite Stars
Nigel Warrior Suwanee, GA 8:00 AM Defensive back 4
0.9690 4
Mecole Hardman, Jr. Elberton, GA 8:30 PM Athlete
1
0.9902 5
Jonathan Kongbo Yuma,AZ (Canada)
10:00 AM Defensive end
1 (JUCO)
0.9583 4
Landon Dickerson Hudson, NC High noon Offensive tackle 4
0.9803 4
Derrick Brown Buford, GA 3:00 PM Cornerback 4
0.9963 5

Flipwatch: Five prospects who could end up at Tennessee

  1. Nigel Warrior. By this time, you're undoubtedly familiar with Warrior, the son of VFL Dale Carter. Although Warrior has visited and seemed entranced with both Alabama and Georgia, the Vols have continued to impress the elite safety and top recruit on the Tennessee recruiting big board. Tennessee coaches are expecting Warrior to commit to the Vols on today, but as with all elite recruits, it won't be over until he signs on the dotted line. 8:00 AM is the target time.
    UPDATE: Warrior is a Vol. Expect the legacy recruit to pair with fellow legacy recruit Todd Kelly, Jr. sooner rather than later.
  2. Mecole Hardman. How long have the Vols have been on Hardman? Since Prince was on Appolonia//Since OJ had Isotoners//That's how long they've been on him. Despite all that, the Vols are the longest of long shots for the number one ranked athlete's commitment, due in large part to his fascination with former Alabama defensive coordinator Kirby Smart and current Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt. In other words, it isn't happening.
    UPDATE: Hardman signed with Georgia. Thankfully, the Dawgs coaching staff prefers Hardman on the defensive side of the ball, removing a dangerous offensive weapon from the field. Although he's incredibly quick, Hardman is likely to struggle defending Tennessee's larger and more powerful wide receivers down the field.
  3. Jonathan Kongbo. Top ranked JUCO defensive end Jonathan Kongbo was committed to the Vols for several weeks before decommiting to consider his options. Ole Miss was making a late push for Kongbo because of his father's connection with Rebels' head coach Hugh Freeze, but this past weekend's announcement of an NCAA investigation into Ole Miss athletics has seemingly put the Vols back into contention. The Vols have missed out on a number of highly rated defensive line recruits this year, with 4* DEs Tony Clayton and Jordan Smith both opting to commit to Florida instead of Tennessee. Kongbo is the last elite defensive end recruit the Vols have a chance to land. He's an incredible physical specimen who needs time to harness the raw talent he has at his disposal. If Tennessee lands his commitment, expect Kongbo to push for playing time across from Derek Barnett as soon as he arrives.
    UPDATE: Kongbo is a Vol! Kudos to Butch Jones, Steve Stripling, and the rest of the recruiting staff for closing with Kongbo despite a late charge from both Ole Miss and Alabama. Kongbo looks like a difference-making prospect, but the Vols' roster depth means he's an awesome new recruit and not a necessary piece.
  4. Landon Dickerson. What a bizarre recruitment it's been for the 4* offensive lineman from North Carolina-- Dickerson has seemed ready to commit to the Vols numerous times during his recruitment, but has backed away without a commitment every time. Whether it's due to his desire to play offensive tackle instead of guard, the crowded Tennessee depth chart, or some other factor, Florida State looks like his destination.
    UPDATE: Dickerson signed with Free Shoes University as expected.
  5. Derrick Brown. The fourth ranked defensive tackle in the nation, Brown is a three-way battle between Tennessee, Auburn's most relentless recruiter (and alleged bagman) Rodney Garner, and Brown's high school girlfriend (who will be attending North Georgia and wants him in Athens). The Vols would love to have the jumbo-sized defensive tackle on campus-- he's very similar to current Tennessee defensive tackle Shy Tuttle, in that he moves exceptionally well for such a large and powerful player. Brown is barely scratching the surface of his physical potential-- he's more manchild than finished product. If the Vols sign Brown, expect him to blossom under Stripling's tutelage.
    UPDATE: Brown's parents waited until the check cleared, but the 5* defensive tackle is headed to the Plains. I can't wait to watch Kevin Steele call for a zone blitz that places Brown in coverage against a slot receiver.