The Tennessee Volunteers signed 18 players to their 2019 class during the early signing period, which is currently good for 16th in the 247 class rankings. It was a fairly quiet couple of days for Jeremy Pruitt and Tennessee, who mainly simply signed the guys that they already had committed. Nothing wrong with that.
The Vols lost out on a couple of targets that they made late, hard runs at like defensive end Justin Eboigbe (who stuck with Alabama) and receiver Jaylen Ellis (who stuck with Baylor). Those signings could have put this class over the top, but it’s tough to find too much to complain about looking at the current group.
OFFENSE — 2019 Signees
3* Brian Mauer (Early Enrollee)
4* Eric Gray (Early Enrollee)
4* Ramel Keyton (Early Enrollee)
3* Jerrod Means
4* Jackson Lowe (Early Enrollee)
3* Sean Brown
5* Wanya Morris (Early Enrollee)
4* Jackson Lampley
3* Chris Akporoghene (Early Enrollee)
3* Melvin McBride
DEFENSE — 2019 Signees
3* JUCO Savion Williams
3* Elijah Simmons
3* JUCO Darel Middleton
4* Quavaris Crouch (Could play ILB/RB too)
4* Roman Harrison
4* Tyus Fields (Early Enrollee)
3* Warren Burrell (Early Enrollee)
4* Jaylen McCollough (Early Enrollee)
3* Aaron Beasley
Unsigned commits: 4* Safety Anthony Harris, 4* LB Lakia Henry, 3* DT LeDarrius Cox
The thing that stands out here is the fact that Tennessee got bigger in the trenches on both sides of the football. They’ve got some bodies to replace defensively in 2019 and a couple of JUCO guys in Williams and Middleton should be able to help immediately. Tennessee signed four guys on the defensive interior last year too. They will each play a bigger role beginning in the spring.
Tennessee got a lot better up front, anchored by five-star tackle Wanya Morris. The Vols won’t be back until the offensive line can start to move people around again. They’ve added talent that can play right off the bat for the second straight season. They’re probably not done in this area either as they’ve been in a great position with Darnell Wright for a couple of months.
Don’t undersell the impact that tight ends Sean Brown and Jackson Lowe could have in the trenches either.
Tennessee picked up another explosive running back in Eric Gray on Thursday, giving them a pretty good looking backfield for the 2019 season. Four-star receiver Ramel Keyton adds to Tennessee’s size at receiver and fills a future need for the Vols.
Tennessee doesn’t have a linebacker signed and current commit Lakia Henry is less than solid with the Vols. Jeremy Pruitt might have to scramble a bit here to keep his numbers right at the position. He should have an in-shape JJ Peterson available this year, plus Jeremy Banks, who’ll likely come over for good from running back. Still, Tennessee needs more depth.
Pass Rush (Hello, Quavaris Crouch!)
Three-star edge linebacker Jalil Clemons flipped to Memphis on Wednesday, leaving Tennessee with just one commit at outside linebacker. Big-time athlete Quavaris Crouch could very well end up being the second name that ends up here, assuming he makes the full time leap to defense.
Update: Tennessee did in fact land Crouch. We weren’t expecting to get this news before January 5th, but it’s now official. Crouch racked up 14 sacks in his last full year of play and has said that he wants to play linebacker in the future. He could end up playing inside, but my money is on the edge.
Missing out on Jaylen Ellis hurt, but Tennessee had their backup plan ready to go in Jerrod Means. The staff seems excited about Means (6-2, runs 4.4), but the difference makers at receiver are suddenly all upperclassmen. They only were able to sign one (Cedric Tillman) last year after Jordan Young backed out in the final hour. I’d expect this to be a position of heavy interest in the 2020 cycle.
Names to watch through February 6th
5* OT Darnell Wright
4* ATH Quavaris Crouch
4* LB Henry To’oto’o
4* Edge Khris Bogle
4* WR Arjei Henderson
3* S Jammie Robinson