Top Five Recruiting Targets for Tennessee in 2018
Since Butch Jones came to Tennessee, he’s recruited at a very high level.
Last year, the Vols signed the nation’s No. 17 class. UT has finished with classes inside the top-25 of 247Sports composite team recruiting rankings dating back to Jones’s arrival in 2013. This has included two finishes inside the top-10.
Tennessee is hoping to sign an even better class in this current cycle. Jones got off to a very good start — as he garnered a pledge from OT prospect Cade Mays. Mays is the No. 2 OT recruit in the country, and is regarded as the No. 12 player in the country. UT also has a commitment from in-state 4-star athlete Alontae Taylor.
Based upon the 247Sports top-100 rankings, here are the top five targets for Tennessee in the 2018 class (with one potential recruit added on for good measure):
RB Jaelen Gill
A native of Ohio, the 6-foor-1 running back was offered by hometown team Ohio State at the end of his freshman season. An absolutely lethal athlete, he can catch passes out of the backfield as well as evade defenders in space.
I am announcing my commitment on March 1st at Westerville South High School, in the auditorium at 2:45 p.m. Thank you for the support!!
— Raaaaaad Chaaaaad (@jaelengill21) February 24, 2017
In fact, his ability to catch the football surely is appealing to Jones and his staff — considering the amount of catches Alvin Kamara and Jalen Hurd racked up the past few seasons.
While many think Ohio State is the prohibitive leader, don’t count out Tennessee. Another darkhorse in this recruitment could be UCLA.
DE Greg Emerson
Emerson has been a longtime target of the Volunteers. Hailing from Jackson, Tenn., Emerson has attended multiple UT games over the past few years.
At 6-foot-4, 275 pounds, he possesses ideal size for the defensive end position. Emerson is both explosive and powerful when rushing off of the edge.
Tennessee appears to be the favorite here — although Ohio State and Alabama are both heavily involved.
DE Brenton Cox
The Georgia native has collected offers from virtually every one of the heavy-hitters within the SEC — including Georgia, Tennessee, Auburn, and Alabama, and also has offers from Clemson and Ohio State.
UT may be on the outside-looking-in with Cox. It appears as if Georgia is making him a priority. With that said, the Vols have had success when recruiting the Peach State, and there’s a long way until National Signing Day.
DB Brendon Harris
Harris is a hard-hitting, physical safety with very good coverage skills. He’s equally able to come up and pack a punch in run support in addition to flipping his hips and running downfield on long passing plays.
He’s been a long admirer of the Tennessee native — which isn’t a shock considering he attends in-state institution Baylor School in Chattanooga. He recently attended Tennessee’s Junior Day, and appears destined to end up in Knoxville when it’s all said and done.
DT D’Andre Litaker
Litaker is a big individual at 6-foot-2, 302 pounds. While he doesn’t possess tremendous height, his low, squatty frame is excellent when gaining leverage in the trenches. He’s a very good run-stuffer and also can get after opposing quarterbacks.
UT has a major “in” with the 4-star defensive tackle. Litaker’s high school coach is the brother of Vols’ OL coach Walt Wells. As such, it appears as if Tennessee is the heavy favorite for the Murfreesboro product.
QB Justin Fields*
Fields’s name has an asterisk due to the fact he’s committed currently to Penn State. With that said, this recruitment doesn’t appear to be over quite yet.
Fields is a native of Kennesaw, Ga. As such, his family is a whole lot closer to Knoxville than it is to Happy Valley. He’s still speaking with the UT staff, and the feeling is that he may still be in play.
A dual-threat signal-caller, Fields possesses excellent athleticism and mobility. He’s also equipped with a very strong arm. His recruitment will be one to watch going forward.