This article is part of our continuing coverage of Tennessee football recruiting, where we thought it would be helpful to provide monthly check-ins on the class.
At a glance, Tennessee’s recruiting class is ranked 6th nationally and 3rd in the SEC, according to 247Sports. They have 24 commitments as of this writing.
Here’s a look back at the previous month, if you want to catch up on what has transpired.
What happened in July?
Tennessee gained a key commitment from cornerback Damarius McGhee out of Florida. He’s a bit of a hidden gem as far as Florida prospects go. He only received major attention in recent months, and it is well earned. His tape is good and he tests as a great athlete. The services are out of sync with his ranking, which is holding him back from blue chip status. One views him as a top-100 player nationally. He will almost certainly move up in the rankings when Rivals actually sits down and evaluates him properly.
Other than that, not much. Tennessee is at 24 commits so there is a bit of a space issue. They will still lose a couple current commits, but not too many.
Who are they in it for?
This is not a comprehensive list of players Tennessee would take right now. But these are the big names they’re still after, who they are rumored to have near the top of the board.
5-star T Amarius Mims
5-star LB Smael Mondon
4-star CB Nyland Green
4-star CB Terrion Arnold
4-star DT Tyrion Ingram-Dawkins
3-star DE Khristian Zachary
3-star T Rod Orr
3-star T William Parker
Changes from the last iteration include the removal of Damarius McGhee and Payton Page (Clemson commit), as well as the addition of Nyland Green, Rod Orr, and Khristian Zachary.
Tennessee has a lot of momentum with Mims and Green. Enough that they might be considered the leader for Green and tied with Alabama for Mims. Green has a great relationship with Derrick Ansley. If I had to choose which one is more likely, Green would get the nod. Mims is up there but I think Alabama has been the main threat for longer. Also not totally discounting Georgia or Florida State, but they’re behind the former two.
I wouldn’t put Terrion Arnold in any mock class. He likes the spotlight and I think he tells a lot of staffs what they want to hear. Tennessee still has a shot, but in my opinion they are behind Alabama, FSU, Florida, and maybe even Georgia. Tennessee’s staff probably realizes this too, hence the big push for Green.
Ingram-Dawkins is going to be a battle to the very end. Tennessee has put all their chips on the table since missing out on Page. It’s between them, Georgia, and South Carolina. A final decision might get pushed back again. Might be one of those recruits who wants to take official visits just to make sure of his decision.
There’s been some discussion about Khristian Zachary and how much of an option he is. Being perfectly honest, I’m not sure Zachary is take right now, and I don’t know how serious he is about Tennessee. Alabama has always been the team in front with his recruitment. He’s a talented, if not totally refined, prospect. Lots of uncertainty here.
Orr has some off the field issues he needs to clear up. Good tackle prospect with a lot of teams after him, but more are shying away. Florida State probably in the lead here, with Tennessee next, and Mississippi State after them. An Auburn offer would change a lot. Will any of his options take him? We will see.
Who will be the next commit?
I’ll go out on a limb and say Nyland Green. Where there is smoke, there is fire. He’s largely been quiet throughout his recruitment, with the Tennessee chatter being a notable exception.
After that it’s either Parker or Orr. Orr wanted to decide around this time, but it’s just not clear how comfortable teams are with taking him.