Thursday evening, LSU suffered the decommitment of four-star Georgia defender Adam Anderson, who is currently ranked as the No. 1 outside linebacker in the nation according to 247Sports Composite Ratings. Why is this significant to Tennessee fans? The loss of Anderson bumped LSU’s 2018 recruiting class down a few notches, allowing the Vols to jump the Tigers for the No. 1 overall recruiting ranking in the SEC and No. 3 in the nation.

Tennessee’s jump wasn’t due solely by default, however, as the Vols were aided by the Thursday addition of the nation’s No. 1 ranked junior college strongside defensive end Dorian Gerald. Adding a top prospect such as Gerald with LSU losing Anderson was enough to bump Tennessee up in 247Sports Team Composite Ratings for 2018.

It’s also worth noting that Tennessee has fewer 2018 prospects committed than LSU at this time, 17 to 20, so the high ranking isn’t due to the quantity of the class, more to its quality — UT’s average commit rates as an 89.39 while LSU’s average commit rates as an 88.09.

While anything can happen between now and National Signing Day(s), getting a jump start in recruiting could prove to be even more important this year as the 2018 recruiting class will be the first group of prospects eligible to sign early in mid-December during the first of two National Signing Day periods. If you are unaware, the traditional National Signing Day during the first week of February is still in place, however this year, prospects will have a 72-hour window to sign their letter of intent between Dec. 20 and Dec. 22.

Many analysts have predicted a large majority of prospects will utilize the early signing day period, some suggest anywhere between 70-90% of classes could be signed early by the top programs, giving schools that may be behind less of an opportunity to flip prospects. The traditional “late closer” coaches also may not get a chance make a final impression in January as they have throughout the history of college football recruiting.

Considering bowl preparations will be underway, for the schools that qualify, leading up to the first signing period, it remains to be seen how much attention coaching staffs will allocate to recruiting this December.

With the college football recruiting calendar essentially accelerated by seven weeks, getting off to a hot start by July is likely to prove to be more significant than it has ever been in the history of recruiting.