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Tennessee in the top ten for five-star DT Walter Nolen

NCAA Football: Tennessee at Missouri Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

The highest-ranked recruit in the state of Tennessee has named his initial top ten schools. Walter Nolen, a five-star defensive tackle out of Cordova, placed the Volunteers inside of his trimmed-down list on Friday as the new coaching staff tries to establish a relationship.

The typical contenders joined Tennessee in his top ten. LSU, Alabama, Clemson, Michigan, Florida, Oregon, Ohio State, Auburn and USC rounded out his current list.

Not only is Nolen the top ranked player in the state, but he’s in the top five nationally. Nolen is the second-ranked player in the 2022 class, trailing only Quinn Ewers — the five-star quarterback prize that is committed to Ohio State.

The 6-4, 300 pound prospect has previously played at Olive Branch in Mississippi and the IMG Academy in Florida. He has transferred to St. Benedict in Cordova, where it just so happens that former Volunteer Marlon Walls is the head coach.

Nolen has visited the Tennessee campus a couple of time to this point and will hopefully be able to get back once again either in the summer or fall if the visit restrictions are lifted. Nolen is another Memphis product, something that new Tennessee assistant Jerry Mack could assist with. Mack was hired to be Heupel’s running backs coach earlier this week.

Tennessee offered Nolen back in April of 2019. They were among the first to offer the elite prospect, but that was an entirely different staff. Josh Heupel is still in search of a defensive coordinator, however, he was able to add SEC veteran Rodney Garner already. Garner has a history of reeling in elite talent, and should give the new staff instant credibility on the trail.

It’s early here, but Nolen is an obvious name to know and follow throughout the offseason. Let’s see if Tennessee can stay in this race.