2017 Tennessee Volunteers Recruiting & National Signing Day Class Breakdown
The 2017 Tennessee Volunteers Recruiting Class. The basic overview of the class, the best area of strength, what you need to know if you don’t care about recruiting, the star, and the depth chart hole going into the season.
Classes and rankings to be updated and adjusted on National Signing Day, Wednesday, February 1
Tennessee Volunteers Recruiting Class Overview
Butch Jones continues to crank up the talent level, but as last year showed, does it matter if you have a whole slew of top players? At the very least, more great prospects are coming to Knoxville, with the top players being brought in on the defensive side with versatility the key at several positions.
Maleik Gray and Cheyenne Labruzza are terrific defensive backs, while Eric Crosby leads a big-time haul of linemen – even though some of them will move around to other spots. Trey Smith is a future starter at right tackle, Ty Chandler could be the next great Tennessee running back, and Brent Cimaglia is a great-looking kicker who might get a few chances early on.
The Tennessee Volunteers Class Is Heavy On …
Defensive linemen – maybe. There are so many questions about where some of these great prospects will play, this could quickly change around. Eric Crosby and, once he beefs up, Kivon Bennett are two outstanding tackle prospects, but the versatility will be the key to the rest of the haul. The pass rushers are there, potentially starting with LaTrell Bumphus – if he doesn’t end up at tight end – Matthew Butler could play inside or out, and several others could end up at outside linebacker, or other places, but all that matters is that Tennessee got some very, very good players.
The Star of the Tennessee Volunteers Class Is …
OT Trey Smith, 6-6, 300, Jackson, TN – Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan and LSU were among the big-name schools in the hunt for the ready-made blocker, and Ole Miss was in the equation, too, but Tennessee got a do-it-all blocker who might be a rock at right tackle early on before eventually growing into an option for the left side. Versatile, he could even kick inside if he gets a little bigger, but his next-level potential is on the right side.
The Tennessee Volunteers Biggest 2017 Depth Chart Hole Is …
Pass rushers. As expected, Derek Barnett left early for the NFL after leading the team with 13 sacks and 19 tackles for loss. But he’s not alone, with Corey Vereen on the other side also done after finishing second on the team with seven sacks. Throw in backup end LaTroy Lewis and his departure, and 22.5 of the team’s 30 sacks have to be replaced.