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Tennessee Recruiting: Storylines to follow as Signing Day approaches

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Here’s what to watch for.

NCAA Football: Alabama at Tennessee Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

It’s setting up to be a quiet true signing day for Tennessee. The Vols did most of their damage in the early period, signing 19 prospects. With just a few spots left, Tennessee focused on a handful of 2019 players. Here’s what to watch this week.

Darnell Wright

The story of signing day for Tennessee will be the status of five-star offensive tackle Darnell Wright. The Vols have taken a commanding lead here, separating from Alabama and Georgia late this fall. Neal Brown’s staff at West Virginia has made a hard late push to get in the mix for Wright, but the elite offensive lineman saw Tennessee one final time over the weekend, just days before he makes his official decision.

Wright would give Tennessee two five-star OL signees in the 2019 class, kickstarting the rebuild of that key positional group.

Tennessee will likely miss on both linebacker targets

Now for the bad news. After being in great spots for both linebackers Chris Russell and Henry To’oto’o just three weeks ago, it appears the Vols won’t land either prospect. Russell cancelled his official visit to Tennessee over the weekend and seems Texas A&M bound. To’oto’o seems like he’s down to Washington and Alabama.

There’s no way of sugarcoating this — not landing one of these players is concerning. Tennessee has veterans at the linebacker position, but the staff didn’t appear all that happy with the group last year.

This puts a little more pressure on guys like JJ Peterson and Quavaris Crouch, who will be relied upon as key depth players this year. More than anything, it shoots linebacker up to the top of the needs list for 2020.

Hail Mary attempt for George Pickens

Tennessee has remained in the picture for five-star receiver George Pickens until the end of the cycle, getting him on campus over the weekend. Pickens remains committed to Auburn, but his recruitment has been open between Miami, LSU, Georgia and Tennessee for some time.

Did Tennessee make up enough ground with Pickens? I’m not sure I’d count on it, but they did get the final chance to pitch him. Without too much to follow on Wednesday, this is definitely a situation to have on your radar.

Late name surfacing

Swinging and (probably) missing on both linebacker prospects has opened up another spot in the class. It seems that spot is most likely to be filled by under the radar prospect Kenney Solomon. The three-star cornerback is being pursued by Louisville, Colorado and UCF. Solomon is a 6-0, 170 pound prospect out of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. Tennessee has picked up a crystal ball projection for Solomon in the last week.

Tennessee made a late push for defensive back Jammie Robinson, but he appears set to join South Carolina’s class on Wednesday.