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4-star defensive end James Pearce commits to Tennessee

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COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 South Carolina at Tennessee Photo by Bryan Lynn/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Surprise No. 2 of the day comes in the form of defensive end James Pearce. The four-star edge rusher committed and signed with Tennessee on Wednesday afternoon, boosting the Vols’ 2022 class and adding depth at a position of need.

Tennessee announced the official signing shortly after the commitment.

Pearce is the 307th ranked player in the 247Sports Composite rankings. He’s the 22nd ranked ege prospect, and the ninth ranked player out of the state of North Carolina. He last visited Tennessee in mid-November.

Pearce was expected to sign during the traditional signing day date in February, but surprised most by giving Tennessee his signature today. The 6-5, 220 pound defensive end prospect held offers from Georgia, South Carolina, Missouri and several others.

He serves as the 20th commitment in Tennessee’s 2022 class, joining Joshua Josephs on the edge in the group. It’s a position that needed depth, despite being anchored by Byron Young and Tyler Baron.

Pearce’s commitment solidifies Tennessee’s current top 20 ranking, per 247Sports. Chalk another one up for defensive line coach Rodney Garner, who has already pulled four-star defensive tackle Tyre West from Georgia today.