It’s finally here - National Signing Day. The day where the future of college football programs is shaped. Today, the Vols will officially welcome this year’s group of new players who will don the orange and white next season.
You may not have heard some of these names for quite a while, so we’re going to take an overall look at the class.
The lone five-star in this class is standout offensive lineman Trey Smith. At 6-5, 310 pounds, Smith has the ability to be an immediate impact player in the SEC. Smith has already enrolled at UT for this spring semester, so he will be able to take part in spring practice - a definite advantage for someone who looks slotted to possibly start as a freshman. Trey Smith is the #14 overall player in the 2017 class according to 247Sports, with a rating of 0.9920.
In addition to Smith, the Vols have four other players in the 2017 class who have already enrolled at Tennessee - LB Shanon Reid, DE Deandre Johnson, OL Riley Locklear and QB Will McBride. All of those guys are three-star recruits according to 247.
So now let’s look at the rest of the class, sorted by position groups.
Offensive Skill Positions
Ty Chandler, RB, Nashville, Tenn. (4-star)
Will McBride, QB, League City, Tex. (3-star)
Jordan Murphy, WR, Hattiesburg, Miss. (3-star)
Marquez Bembry, ATH, Atlanta, Ga. (3-star)
Trey Coleman, RB, West Monroe, La. (3-star)
Josh Palmer, WR, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (3-star)
Jacquez Jones, WR, Clearwater, Fla. (3-star)
Princeton Fant, WR, LaVergne, Tenn. (3-star)
James Brown, TE, Orlando, Fla. (3-star)
Timothy Jordan, RB, Bartow, Fla. (3-star)
Ty Chandler is definitely the standout among this group. 247Sports ranks Chandler as the #68 overall player in the country and the #5 running back out of Montgomery Bell Academy in Nashville.
I already mentioned dual-threat QB Will McBride, who will most likely redshirt and try to learn from whoever ends up being Tennessee’s starter in 2017.
Additionally, this group is filled with some solid receivers. Tennessee lost Josh Malone to the NFL Draft and Jason Croom to graduation, so there are some receptions to be had. Time will tell if any of these freshmen impress enough during fall camp to be the ones to get them.
Trey Smith, OL, Jackson, Tenn. (5-star)
Riley Locklear, OL, Huntington, W.V. (3-star)
K’Rojhn Calbert,McMinnville, Tenn. (3-star)
I already talked about Trey Smith, and there’s only so much you can say about the guy. He’s going to be a beast. Some recruiting experts have even gone so far as to say he’s the best offensive line prospect they’ve ever seen.
But I like these other guys, too. Locklear is going to be a solid tackle opposite Smith in years to come and Calbert has a lot of upside. Butch Jones got a solid crew of big men in the 2017 class.
Eric Crosby, DT, Virginia Beach, Va. (4-star)
Will Ignont, ILB, New Market, Ala. (4-star)
Shanon Reid, OLB, Fort Meyers, Fla. (3-star)
Deandre Johnson, DE, Miami, Fla. (3-star)
Matthew Butler, DT, Garner, N.C. (3-star)
LaTrell Bumphus, DE, Savannah, Tenn. (3-star)
Kivon Bennett, DT, Fort Lauderdale, Fla. (3-star)
Solon Page III, OLB, Marietta, Ga. (3-star)
Ryan Thaxton, DE, Alexandria, Va. (3-star)
The Vols got a lot of talent on the defensive line and linebacking corps in the 2017 class, led by DT Eric Crosby and LB Will Ignont. 247Sports Composite lists Crosby as the #12 DT in the country and Ignont as the #16 inside linebacker.
Another player I really like in this group is Matthew Butler. He’s a three-star, but he definitely has the ability to become a game wrecker at the next level with the right coaching.
Maleik Gray, S, LaVergne, Tenn. (4-star)
Cheyenne Labruzza, CB, Albany, La. (3-star)
Terrell Bailey, CB, Merrero, La. (3-star)
Theo Jackson, S, Nashville, Tenn. (3-star)
Shawn Shamburger, CB, Moultrie, Ga. (3-star)
This group is, without equivocation, led by Under Armour All-American Maleik Gray. Gray has been committed to the Vols for quite some time and remained firm all the way through. He is listed as the #78 overall player and #10 safety in the country by the 247Sports Composite.
Additionally, the name Shawn Shamburger can not and will not go unnoticed. I need the NCAA to abolish its amateurism rules sometime in the next four years just so I can buy a Shamburger jersey.
Brent Cimiglia, K, Franklin, Tenn. (3-star)
While technically listed as a three-star recruit, Cimiglia is rated as the #4 kicker in the country. When Aaron Medley graduates, the Vols’ kicking duties look to be in good hands.
So that’s Tennessee’s 2017 class as of this morning. Right now, UT’s class is #14 in America and #6 in the SEC, according to 247. Let’s look forward to seeing all these guys in the orange and white very soon!