Tennessee went to their nextdoor neighbor and grabbed a highly ranked blue chip prospect. 4-star safety Sylvester Smith out of Munford, Alabama announced his commitment to the Volunteers on Tuesday afternoon.
Smith is the 147th overall player nationally and the 11th ranked safety, according to the 247Sports composite rankings.
Note before we go any further: We are going off the most recent clips on Smith’s Hudl page. Unfortunately, the most recent video is from his sophomore season. It’s still enough to gauge what he brings as a player and where his highest ceiling is located.
The tape shows that Smith is a firecracker of a defender. When he delivers a hit, he doesn’t need much build up. He has an impressive burst that allows him to flatten opposing players who don’t expect it. Smith is supposedly just 5-foot-11 and 195 pounds, yet he looks bigger on tape. He also looks like he has some length to him—which could just be how he’s built. Smith gives off the vibes of a player whose best plays will be near the line of scrimmage. Whether he’s blitzing from the corner or helping stack the box, Smith can pack a punch.
The coverage clips on his tape are a bit more spotty. He has the prerequisite speed and ability to locate the ball, which allows him to grab some timely interceptions. But the featured opponents don’t exactly test defensive secondaries. It’s impossible to tell whether Smith has good instincts, or if he’s just taking advantage of weak competition.
Regardless, Smith is a hot commodity on the trail and has a chance to compete early for playing time. Tennessee’s secondary needs an infusion of talent, and Smith would be one of the bigger ones to hop on in recent classes.
Tennessee’s 2023 recruiting class is now ranked seventh nationally and third in the SEC. They have nine commits, including four blue chips.