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5-star DT Walter Nolen named flip candidate by recruiting analyst

Syndication: The Knoxville News-Sentinel Brianna Paciorka/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK

Back in November, Walter Nolen surprised a lot of people by going ahead and committing to Texas A&M. The Aggies weren’t a surprise as the landing spot for Nolen, but the timing of the commitment seemed abrupt.

Since then, Tennessee has been working hard to change his mind. The five-star defensive tackle moved to Knoxville ahead of his senior season, and the hiring of defensive line coach Rodney Garner — one of the best in the business — brought the Volunteers into the thick of the battle for him.

Just one week after Nolen announced his commitment, he took an unofficial visit to Tennessee. Last week, he took his official visit. It’s probably no coincidence that Jimbo Fisher felt the need to make an in-home visit with Nolen last week as well.

Late last week, Rivals recruiting analyst Adam Friedman named Nolen as a potential flip candidate, citing Tennessee’s late efforts.

The No. 2 player in the Rivals250 may not be as solidly committed as Texas A&M fans would hope. Nolen, a Tennessee native, continues to take visits elsewhere, namely to Tennessee. The Vols hosted the five-star defensive tackle again this past weekend, but it was an official visit this time.

Nolen’s recruitment has been a roller coaster and his abrupt commitment to Texas A&M in early November caught some by surprise, even though the Aggies had been the rumored leader. Tennessee has ground to make up, but the Vols are closing the gap.

The 6-4, 325 pound prospect is the second ranked player in the 2022 class, per 247Sports. The consensus five-star defender put up 17 sacks this season, adding 28 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles and 93 total tackles.

Nolen plans on signing this week during the early period. Tennessee might very well come up short here, but the full court press has been on and it will remain that way until pen hits paper. For what it’s worth, Nolen didn’t exactly slam the door shut on Tennessee last week when asked.

Tennessee has several other targets on their radar that you’ll get to know this week, but keep an eye on Nolen just in case.