Tennessee was looking to make another big splash today on the recruiting trail, but they came up just short. Offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa — the nation’s No. 9 overall ranked player — committed to Miami today over Florida, Tennessee and Alabama.
The Volunteers really came on strong this spring for the IMG Academy product, but an existing relationship with the new Miami coaching staff helped sway Mauigoa to the Hurricanes. Five-star quarterback commit Nico Iamaleava had been recruiting Mauigoa to join him in Knoxville since Iamaleava committed this spring. Instead, he lands with Mario Cristobal in South Beach.
Mauigoa, a 6-5, 330 pound powerhouse, was atop Tennessee’s options to fill a need at tackle. Our recruiting analyst, Clint Eiland, described him as a guy with all of the tools, but perhaps lacking some polish.
Mauigoa is an athletic freak, first and foremost. He’s 6 foot 5 and 330 pounds, but moves like a defensive end. His drive blocks are basically unstoppable, and there’s really no one at the high school level who can consistently win against him. He has largely played right tackle at IMG academy, and most of his highlights come in the form of run blocking. Off physical attributes alone, Mauigoa deserves the high ranking.
Mauigoa has plenty of room to grow in most aspects of the tackle position, however. He’s going to need to refine his footwork, hand placement, and his overall pass blocking if he wants to contribute at the next level. When he’s driving a defender from the ball, you see the insanely talented freak. When he’s asked to do something else, you see the project side.
Tennessee’s tackle options now shift down the board. Shamurad Umarov, a four-star tackle out of Georgia, will choose between Tennessee, Georgia, LSU and Michigan State later this week. Another option is four-star Stanton Ramil, who just recently included the Volunteers in his top eight. Three-star Ayden Bussell is the lone offensive line commitment to this point in the 2023 group.