Tennessee made headlines during the 2019 recruiting cycle by landing a few players that most analysts didn’t think they had a shot with. Quavaris Crouch was one of those, choosing Tennessee over Michigan and Clemson.
The four-star athlete was once the top prospect in the land before an injury ended his senior season of high school early. Crouch was thought of as the top running back prospect in the country, but Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt won him over by pitching him on a defensive role.
Through four games, Crouch has already made an impact at outside linebacker for the Volunteers as he continues to get comfortable in the system.
On Wednesday, Crouch had a message to all of those recruits that might be considering Tennessee. It’s been a tough start for the Vols, but Crouch still seems totally bought in and is preaching patience.
“For any recruit that’s out there thinking, did Tennessee take a step back? I would say, you come here, and you get ready to play with us. It takes time to build something. The world wasn’t built in one day, either. Everything takes time. As long as you keep on working with a good mindset, success will come. Most of the people that are here were the best player on their team. Some of these guys aren’t used to losing, so you’ve got to say, just keep rolling. We can change it. The season is far from over. It’s exciting to get out there and get back to work. Don’t be discouraged, just keep going.”
That’s about as good of an attitude as you can have in this situation.
Crouch is one of a few reasons for optimism going forward this season. Guys like Crouch, Roman Harrison and Henry To’o To’o are only going to get better with more time on the football field. Bryce Thompson is back and has his issue behind him, which should bring a calming presence to a secondary that could certainly use it. This defense should continue to make strides.
For Jeremy Pruitt’s sake, the offense desperately needs a spark. Might Crouch provide a little bit of a solution on that side of the ball as well?
“He weighs 248 pounds and the other running backs weigh 205 pounds,” Pruitt said of Crouch on Wednesday. “When its third and one or fourth and one, that would be an option.”
Jeremy Banks was thought of as the short-yardage back coming into camp, but injuries and transfers have forced the staff to move him to the inside linebacker spot. We saw Crouch get his first carry against Florida last weekend, picking up a first down in the process.
“It’s something that we talked about doing when we recruited him,” Pruitt said. “He rushed for 3,000 yards during his junior year of high school, so the guy can play running back. He came here to play linebacker with the thought that he’d have an opportunity on short yardage and goal line.”
With an open date this week, Tennessee will have plenty of time to install a little more of that package for Crouch into the offense. It will be interesting to see if that’s something we see more of going forward.