Will Andrew Butcher be overlooked behind Barnett and Phillips?
It’s hard to be overlooked as a four-star prospect, but Tennessee commit Andrew Butcher certainly fits the bill. Despite being the No. 233 national prospect, Butcher has received less attention than Tennessee’s other defensive lineman prospects, which should continue following Kyle Phillips’ commitment on Saturday.
Phillips, a fellow strong-side defensive end, joins the Vols’ 2015 class that also includes Butcher, No. 2 defensive tackle Kahlil McKenzie and No. 5 DT Shy Tuttle. While Butcher is also a blue chip prospect, he doesn’t enter his college career with the same acclaim as his counterparts.
The Alpharetta, Ga., native faces difficult odds to receive much playing time as a freshman. Derek Barnett has secured one of the Vols’ defensive end positions for the next 2-3 years. Curt Maggitt, who played as a hybrid at both defensive end and outside linebacker, could return as a redshirt senior.
The Vols could decide to play Maggitt full-time at outside linebacker — where he played during his first two seasons — and rotate Phillips, Butcher and Corey Vereen at the other defensive end position.
Still, Butcher has the skills to compete at the next level and should make an impact on Tennessee’s defense in whatever capacity he’s used. Here’s a look at his highlight film from his junior season at Alpharetta High School (Alpharetta, Ga.):
Butcher has the pedigree to succeed as the son of former NFL offensive guard Brian Butcher. He also has the advantage of enrolling at UT early. The Georgia native was one of nine players to attend classes Monday, while Phillips also plans to enroll later this week.
Butcher should develop into a top-tier defensive end over time. He has the natural ability to succeed and benefits long-term from a strong supporting cast.
Even with limited playing time, Butcher could make an impact as a freshman as part of a talented defensive end rotation. Regardless of whether enters with the same acclaim as his counterparts, the four-star defensive end will make a name for himself during his time in Knoxville.