Have no fear, Tennessee fans: Much needed defensive depth is on the way. The Volunteers got a nice little surprise Monday afternoon when 3-star linebacker/defensive end hybrid Joshua Josephs announced his commitment.
Josephs is ranked as a 3-star Edge defender by the 247Sports Composite Rankings. He’s 505th nationally and 31st at the position according to those rankings. 247Sports own numbers are a bit higher on Josephs, putting him as a 4-star and 19th overall Edge defender.
Tennessee has been a constant in this recruitment since the summer. Josephs hails from Kennesaw, Georgia, and attends North Cobb High School. The Volunteers made him a priority early and got him in to Knoxville on multiple visits. Michigan was considered their top competition, with Auburn and Kentucky also playing a factor.
Josephs is a great example of why 247Sports has created the “Edge” position rather than just forcing him into either a defensive end or outside linebacker ranking. Josephs is 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds right now, so he has a lot of room to fill out before he contributes at the next level. His height isn’t ideal for a defensive end, but he has an 82-inch wingspan to make up for it.
Most of his damage is done standing up, since he primarily plays as a linebacker in high school. But he has the wingspan and speed off the edge to develop into a really high level defensive end, should a coaching staff choose to develop him there. He could still make a living as an outside linebacker too. It’s really up to the Tennessee coaching staff deciding where he fits best. That’s also why there’s a disparity between Josephs’ ranking among the various recruiting outlets. The “tweener” label is appropriate, but the natural skills are there.
Josephs is the 15th commit of the class. He is the first Edge defender to commit, and the third defensive lineman overall. His commitment brings the Volunteers up to 30th in the national class rankings. They are currently 10th in the SEC.