In a move that was almost certainly provoked by recent events, 3-star Tennessee cornerback commit Lovie Jenkins flipped to the Louisville Cardinals. Jenkins made the announcement on Twitter.
God Sat Me Down And Talked To Me I Listened GO CARDS❗️ pic.twitter.com/uEtYeaBnc5— Lovie Jenkins#️⃣1 (@Lovie1k) September 10, 2019
Jenkins originally committed to the Volunteers in mid-June, soon after he started receiving more attention from bigger programs. He was still considered fairly under-the-radar. Jenkins’ physical profile isn’t intimidating (5-foot-10 and 180 pounds) but he possesses a good amount of athleticism and grit. Louisville’s start to the season, combined with Tennessee’s collapse, probably forced Jenkins to seriously reevaluate his original decision.
His de-commitment leaves Tennessee with just three defensive backs committed: 4-star safety Keshawn Lawrence, 4-star JUCO cornerback Art Green, and 3-star safety Mordecai McDaniel. They would like at least four in the class, with room to add up to five or even six if the chips fell a certain way.
Cornerback is the more pressing need. Bryce Thompson’s suspension to begin 2019 has revealed the scary lack of depth, with true freshman Warren Burrell being forced on the field to take his lumps. While Jenkins probably isn’t the top level of recruit they could get at the position, he was a solid depth piece that had the tools to be a high-level starter down the road. Now the Volunteers need to start looking at other options (which have so far been pretty scarce at the position group).
Tennessee’s recruiting class is likely in for a very interesting next few months. Can Jeremy Pruitt and his staff rebound on the field and save the class? Or will Tennessee’s unexpectedly poor season cause most of their commits to look around? Time will tell if Jenkins’ decision is an anomaly, or if it is the start of a trend.