The long awaited conclusion to the 2019 recruiting cycle is just around the corner, with the regular National Signing Day set for February 6th. Few teams have as much upside remaining as Tennessee does. The Volunteers are the favorite for a 5-star offensive tackle, a contender for a top-50 linebacker, and a solid choice for a couple other well regarded prospects.
Tennessee currently ranks 16th in the 247Sports Composite Team Rankings, but most expect them to climb considerably when the dust settles. A top-10 class is well within reach. Some would say it is even looking more likely than not.
We break down the remaining prospects on the board that Tennessee has a shot at getting. There are a couple players still being pursued that might not make the list, but that is because they have not set up official visits—a sign of genuine interest. Everyone listed has already visited Tennessee or will visit in the next two weekends.
5-star OT Darnell Wright
The worst kept secret of the 2019 cycle for Tennessee. Fans may be frustrated that he did not sign/commit in December, but Wright has never been one to milk the spotlight or hype up his decision. The only other threat to Tennessee is West Virginia, but the recent staff turnover puts them at a disadvantage to grab the 5-star tackle. His only visit remaining is to Tennessee the weekend before National Signing Day. Unless there is an M. Night Shyamalan twist, Wright will be a Vol.
4-star LB Henry To’oto’o
This recruitment is a great example of why you should never give up on certain prospects. While everyone knew that Tennessee was a contender for the talented California linebacker, Alabama was perceived as the heavy favorite just two weeks ago. Their defensive coordinator Tosh Lupoi had a great connection to To’oto’o, and the Crimson Tide could sell To’oto’o on a plan to upgrade the speed of their linebacker unit.
Now Lupoi is gone and Tennessee has emerged as an ever-so-slight favorite. To’oto’o visited Knoxville last weekend and has one more visit remaining to Oregon. They are a bigger threat than some might realize, even if it was assumed that the recruitment was a battle between Alabama and Tennessee. This is not a done deal by any means. Tennessee still has a good shot. Ever since the Quavaris Crouch signing, all bets are off when it comes to a defensive recruit that Pruitt wants.
4-star QB Lance LeGendre
Some questions arise when it comes to LeGendre and how serious of a contender Tennessee actually is. LeGendre is a dual threat quarterback who is raw as a passer—two qualities that do not fit Tennessee’s ideal offense under Jim Chaney. Despite that, LeGendre visited Tennessee this past weekend.
One theory is that Tennessee is selling LeGendre on the same pitch they sold Jauan Jennings. The latter was a top-10 dual threat quarterback in his class, who got to Knoxville and was immediately switched to wide receiver. LeGendre has similar athleticism and shows impressive moves on the run.
Unlike Jennings however, LeGendre is probably not as open to the idea. Florida State is the leader in his recruitment and is selling him on being a quarterback at the next level. Unless the dominos fall in truly unexpected ways, LeGendre is a long shot.
3-star LB Christopher Russell
Remember Jordan Young from last year? Same deal here. Russell is a Tennessee native (Dyersburg) who went virtually unnoticed until December. Memphis found him earlier in the year and even held a commitment from him until November. Right around that time, Russell received offers from Auburn, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.
His tape shows a linebacker with a sky high ceiling. Russell is a 6-foot-2, 230 pound defender with impressive athleticism, and a burst that hints at special potential. Given that he was originally committed to Memphis and is saving his final visit for Tennessee, the Volunteers are arguably in the best position for Russell. However, considering what we know about the To’oto’o situation, there could be a numbers crunch to consider.
Ultimately I do think that Russell will end up in the class.
3-star S Jammie Robinson
The concerns around safety commit Anthony Harris have prompted an interesting situation for Tennessee. If Harris does qualify and sticks with his commitment, the safety room is in a great spot heading into 2019. If either condition is not fulfilled, it becomes a bit more tenuous. Tennessee is hoping for the best, but they also realize that it is crunch time for recruiting and there is a potential depth issue that needs an answer.
Jammie Robinson would seem to be their backup plan. The Volunteers have consistently showed interest in Robinson, who they like as both a returner and safety. It helps validate them that Robinson won the GHSA Class 6A Defensive Player of the Year Award. Still, due to the players left on the board and the players already in the boat, Robinson has not had a secure spot on the roster. Will that change in the final weeks?