Tennessee football’s 2022 recruiting class just got substantially better on Monday afternoon. 4-star offensive lineman Addison Nichols committed to the Volunteers over programs like North Carolina, Ohio State, and Georgia.
Nichols is now the highest ranked recruit in Tennessee’s 2022 class. He comes in at 107th overall in the 247Sports composite rankings, and he’s ranked 3rd overall for interior lineman. He’s also ranked 12th overall in the state of Georgia.
This is the new staff’s biggest recruiting victory to date. Nichols is a near top-100 level player who had legitimate interest from heavyweights on the recruiting trail. After a tumultuous few months, getting a player of Nichols’ caliber is almost unfathomable. But as we continue to see, Heupel and his coaches are getting better at selling their vision. That same ability is why they are in the running for guys like 5-star defensive lineman Walter Nolen.
Nichols was the No. 1 offensive line target for Tennessee’s coaching staff from the moment they started. The Georgia native has told reporters that his family grew up Tennessee fans, and he’s maintained a level of interest in the Volunteers for the entire process.
Have no doubts however: This was not an easy pull. Nichols was recruited heavily by big names like Ohio State and Georgia, as well as a resurgent North Carolina. The family connection certainly helped Josh Heupel and his staff catch up ground after he was hired. But after that, it’s all on the coaches to convince Nichols that Tennessee is the right choice.
Tennessee is getting a versatile lineman who is advanced in his development. Nichols is already 6-foot-5 and 318 pounds heading into his senior year, and he doesn’t seem to have much “bad weight” that fellow 300+ pound high school lineman do. He’s got a huge wingspan and a high motor to boot. Nichols is listed as an interior lineman, but he could absolutely play tackle at the next level. It all depends on where the staff wants him to focus.
Tennessee’s class ranking jumped after the Nichols addition. The Volunteers are now 30th nationally and 10th in the SEC. Nichols is the second blue chip player in the class.