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Elite five-star linebacker planning Tennessee visit, says Jeremy Pruitt is ‘the outside linebacker master’

Could be a big deal.

Tennessee v West Virginia Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

It took a while, but Tennessee finally has picked up some momentum within the class of 2020. After adding a few key in-state commitments, the Volunteers are looking to expand that momentum outside of the state’s borders.

We saw this staff do that last year, adding elite prospects from California, North Carolina, West Virginia and Georgia. Could they pull one from Washington?

Sav’ell Smalls is a five-star prospect from the Pacific Northwest. He told the Sports Stars of Tomorrow that he’s planning on taking a trip all the way down to Knoxville after the recruiting dead period ends.

Smalls is the 4th overall prospect in the class of 2020 — the top ranked outside linebacker in this year’s class, according to 247 Sports. The 6-3, 230 pound edge presence would fill a massive need for the Volunteers, who will be looking to replace Darrell Taylor after this season.

Tennessee has placed the 247 Sports National Recruiter of the Year Brian Niedermeyer on Smalls’ recruitment.

So how does a kid from Washington get attracted to Tennessee? It’s simple for Small — it’s Jeremy Pruitt.

“(Pruitt) is the head coach and he’s, like, the outside linebacker master,” Smalls told Sports Stars of Tomorrow. “He’s an expert about defense. He’s a defensive guru and he really develops pass rushers like no other. And that’s a big plus, being the head coach. And Tennessee’s up and coming.”

Tennessee didn’t appear in Smalls’ top 12 released earlier this year, but that may change, considering his upcoming visit. Smalls said that he plans on releasing a top six soon. Smalls has already seen Florida, Florida State and Alabama, along with west coast programs like Washington, USC, Stanford and Oregon.

Smalls registered seven sacks in 2018, while adding over 600 yards receiving and scoring seven touchdowns. He projects as a linebacker who can play the edge, along with handling some off-ball responsibilities in coverage.