To be blunt, it was a disastrous weekend for Tennessee on the recruiting front. Ty Simpson kicked things off on Friday afternoon by committing to Alabama over the home-state Volunteers. Josh Heupel’s assumed No. 2 target Sam Horn then committed to Missouri on Sunday night.
Heupel faced a near impossible task with Simpson after the five-star quarterback laid out a commitment timeline that gave him under a month to establish a relationship. Horn was always viewed as the second option for Tennessee, and perhaps that was a turn off for him.
The 6-4, 190 pound pro-style quarterback is the 82nd ranked player in the class, per 247Sports. He’s the sixth-ranked pocket passer in the 2022 group, coming out of Suwanee, Georgia. In 2020, Horn threw for 3,910 yards and 41 touchdowns.
Horn held offers from Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Duke, Louisville, Pitt, Oklahoma State and several others. He now lands in the SEC East, where Tennessee will see plenty of him over the next few seasons.
Losing out on these two obviously leaves a lot of questions unanswered. Is it a reflection of Heupel and his offensive staff’s ability to recruit? While it certainly doesn’t look good, it’s tough to place too much blame on them. The previous staff was all in on Simpson, and Heupel just didn’t have enough time to win him over. You can paint a similar picture with Horn. So before we bury Heupel’s ability to recruit, let’s at least give him the spring to get some footing in Knoxville.
Where does Tennessee turn from here? A new offer went out yesterday to Tayven Jackson, a three-star quarterback out of Indiana, so that’s a name to add to your radar. Another offer went out to Drew Allar, a four-star quarterback out of Ohio. It’s worth noting that Tennessee will bring back Harrison Bailey for a second freshman season, while adding top-100 overall prospect Kaidon Salter to the room.
Missing on both isn’t the end of the world, but it certainly does sting.