ESPN has released an article that goes through some of the most impactful misses of last year’s recruiting cycle — and you guessed it — Tennessee is all over it. Butch Jones put together a fine group for 2017, but these two misses put a dampener on things for sure.
The article lists Cam Akers — the now seemingly lead back for Florida State — first. Tennessee was in the thick of the Akers sweepstakes, even leading the pack at one point. The Vols certainly could have used his services with the shallow backfield that now looms in Knoxville. By the end of it, Akers was a long shot to come to Tennessee, but it still hurts considering the Vols were once considered front runners for him.
Tennessee wasn’t the only school that will feel some pain from Akers. Alabama, Ole Miss and LSU were also hot on his trail. With Akers set to start as a freshman for Florida State, expect a painful three or four years as we watch him tear up the ACC. Hopefully Ty Chandler helps us forget all about Cam Akers.
The second player listed with Tennessee ties is Tee Higgins. Higgins decommitted from Tennessee in February of 2016, joining Amari Rodgers at Clemson. Dabo Swinney has become a real problem for SEC programs.
Higgins would have started immediately opposite of Jauan Jennings, likely taking full control as a WR1 in 2018. You can’t blame Higgins for bolting to Clemson, however. They’ve become a powerhouse for churning out receiver talent lately.
Butch Jones has made great strides in keeping in-state talent at Tennessee, but he couldn’t keep Higgins — who the Vols certainly could have used in a big way this fall.