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Jay Graham should give Tennessee another leg up for five-star running back Zachary Evans

A timely hire.

Jay Graham Tennessee Getty Images

Jay Graham is coming home.

After leaving Tennessee during the Butch Jones era, Graham is now joining Jeremy Pruitt’s staff, filling the opening that David Johnson created when he left for Florida State. Graham was a key part of Jimbo Fisher’s staff at Texas A&M, which adds another layer of interest to this hire.

Why? Five-star running back Zachary Evans, that’s why. Tennessee has gotten involved in a big way for the elite back, battling it out with Georgia, Ole Miss and..... Texas A&M. The Aggies were a popular projected landing spot for Evans once he was released from his Georgia NLI earlier this month.

Now with Jay Graham on staff at Tennessee, who was his primary recruiter at A&M, you’ve got to like the Volunteers’ chances even more.

Graham played at Tennessee in the 1990s, running for more than 1,400 yards as a junior in 1995. Could there be anyone more perfect to finish off Evans’ recruitment?

Evans is the 16th rated player in the 2020 class, per the 247Sports industry-generated composite rankings. Interestingly enough, he actually lost his fifth star in 247’s independent rankings, falling to No. 33 overall. Perhaps that has something to do with the potential baggage he might bring.

This recruitment has been strange since December, where Evans was suspended for his team’s state title game. It was the second time during his senior season that he had been suspended. He then signed with Georgia, but kept things under wraps until the Under Armor All-American Game. Instead of announcing his commitment, he asked for his release from his NLI.

Tennessee seems to be in a pretty good spot right now, but as we’ve seen over the last month, don’t assume anything here. This will be a battle until February 5th, let’s see if the Vols can close it out.