With four-star defensive tackle D’Andre Litaker becoming the latest in-state prospect to commit, Tennessee appears set for a major in-state recruiting haul.
Five-star offensive tackle Cade Mays, four-star athlete Alontae Taylor, four-star safety Brendon Harris, four-star defensive tackle Brant Lawless and Litaker give Tennessee five of the state’s top nine prospects in the 247Sports.com composite rankings.
Plus, the Vols are in the running for two more of the state’s top-10 prospects — defensive tackle Greg Emerson from Jackson North Side and wide receiver Camron Johnson from Brentwood Academy. Get those two, and Butch Jones is suddenly looking at a major bonanza from home soil.
This is a distinct contrast from the Vols’ recent classes. In 2015, the Vols did sign three of the state’s top four, but only one more in the top 15. In 2016, Tennessee signed two of the top 15 — the same number as Vanderbilt. And while Jones signed three of the state’s top six in February, the Vols signed only five of the top 20.
But this season’s class is shaping up as a repeat of Jones’ class of 2014. That group included nine of the top 11 in the state and included future first-round NFL pick Derek Barnett, as well as Jashon Robertson, Todd Kelly Jr., Josh Malone and Jalen Hurd.
Another recruiting number to consider: Five in-state Vols commitments are among the top 300 players nationally; that matches the total of the past two classes combined. And if the Vols also get Emerson and Johnson, that would give them seven top-300 prospects from Tennessee, which would be just two fewer than the past three classes combined.
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