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Tennessee makes top five for 2020 top 100 defensive lineman Zykeivous Walker

Can the Vols close the gap on the Bulldogs?

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee has made the cut for another top 100 prospect, this time landing inside the top five of four-star defensive end Zykeivous Walker. The Georgia prospect narrowed his list to five on Wednesday, including Tennessee, Auburn, Georgia, Alabama and Florida.

Walker is a 6-4, 260 pound strong-side defensive end prospect out of Ellaville, Georgia. He is the 98th ranked player in the 2020 class, according to the 247 Sports Composite. He’s the 5th ranked strong side defensive end prospect in the class.

Though Walker has narrowed it to five, the Georgia Bulldogs remain the current favorites. Georgia holds all six of 247’s crystal ball projections for the in-state lineman right now. The Bulldogs got him on campus twice last fall.

Tennessee made their offer in May of 2018, then hosted him on a visit during the Missouri game in November.

This year, the Vols are replacing three starters up front. They have a lot of bodies on the defensive front, but none have really stood out to this point outside of Emmit Gooden at the end of 2018. Gooden will play his final year of eligibility in 2019, once again leaving Tennessee with a hole to plug on the defensive front. Somewhat surprisingly, Jeremy Pruitt has been unable to add many blue-chip pieces to the defensive line and the edge. That has to change starting this year.

Looking at Walker on tape, his strength is overwhelming. His length at 6-4 allows him to keep blockers off of him and shed to make plays in the backfield. He looks like more of an interior guy than an edge guy, which is something Tennessee absolutely need more of. But will they be able to close the gap and make a legitimate play for him?