Another new week, another decommitment for Tennessee football. The Volunteers lost a pledge from three-star defensive end Darrell Jackson on Monday morning, the third defensive prospect in the last two weeks to back out.
Four-star cornerback Damarius McGhee and five-star linebacker Terrence Lewis were the first two subtractions from the class after a white hot run through the spring and summer for Tennessee.
Jackson joins them today.
Jackson explained his decision to Rivals, citing a too quick of a commitment and a change on the Tennessee coaching staff.
“I committed too soon and rushed my commitment,” said Jackson. “I like Tennessee, and I like the school, but I rushed things.
“They also fired coach Brumbaugh, the defensive line coach, so that was a factor too. I have been thinking about this for a while, and I just want to take more time and look at the options I have.” (Rivals)
The Florida native is a three-star prospect in the class of 2021, currently ranked outside of the top 700 according to the 247Sports Composite. Jackson also holds offers from Mississippi State, Miami, Maryland and Georgia Tech. Florida State is also now in the mix.
This isn’t a decommit to be worried about for next season. Jackson has always been a project player. He has only played football for the past two years of high school, one of which was in a season impacted by coronavirus. He has a lot of athletic ability and has already made massive gains in the weight room from his junior year. He is still so new to the sport that any school taking him will probably need a minimum of a redshirt year before he contributes. Those who watched his senior year said he was growing more into an interior type of lineman—and would likely find more success in a 4-3 front.
Overall, the staff obviously saw his potential, so a decommitment stings. But the volunteers still have their No. 1 defensive lineman committed (Dylan Brooks) along with a couple other guys they are high on.
Still, the Early Signing Period is rapidly approaching, and Tennessee couldn’t be colder on the trail. There were always going to be some exits with a class of over 25 player way back in the summer, but I’m not sure many people projected it to be because of a total regression on the field this year.
Pruitt now has a couple of weeks to keep this group together, all while trying to prepare for Vanderbilt and Texas A&M. The early signing period opens on December 16th and closes on December 18th. Whatever happens, it’s sure to be a hectic time ahead of Christmas.