Jeremy Pruitt has seen his fair share of defensive prospects come through the college ranks, so when he drops a comparison, he might know what he’s talking about. Coaching at Alabama, Florida State and Georgia, Pruitt had his chance to get to know several guys before they moved on to the league.
One of his current freshman linebackers reminds him of a former first-round pick of the Tennessee Titans. Speaking on Morven Joseph, who has entered the rotation for Tennessee at multiple linebacker positions, Pruitt compared him to Rashaan Evans.
“He’s a guy that, really he’s a 4-for-4 guy, he can play all four (linebacker) positions,” Pruitt said. “Reminds me of a guy I coached before that plays for the Titans, Rashaan Evans. Very similar body movements, instinctive guy. In high school he played defensive end and also played inside linebacker, so he’s a guy that’s bounced around. He’s smart, he works hard, he’s been a pretty good special teams player so far. He’s just got to continue to work, and he’ll do that.”
Joseph was credited with 13 sacks and 115 tackles — 28 tackles for loss as a high school senior. With a clear need on the edge right now for Tennessee, it’s natural for him to start out there and give the Volunteers some juice. That’s where he appeared against Georgia, and was involved in a handful of plays after Deandre Johnson was ejected.
At 6-2, 220 pounds, Joseph has the frame to handle either spot, and that seems to be the plan going forward.
Evans took a similar route at Alabama, spending his senior season with the tide in the middle of the defense, then kicking out to the edge on pass rushing downs. He’s continued to do a little bit of that with the Titans.
Joseph and Tyler Baron have really been the two standout freshmen within the front seven for Tennessee so far this season. As the year marches on, I’d expect to see more of a youth movement, especially with eligibility frozen for 2020.