Tennessee Volunteers continue to struggle on the recruiting trail

Jeremy Pruitt

We are still in the early stages traveling down the recruiting trail of 2019. As we enter the middle portion of May, however, certain developments are becoming more and more clear.

Alabama and Georgia appear to be set up for another terrific talent haul. Texas A&M and Ole Miss both have over a dozen committed prospects already for 2019. South Carolina and Mississippi State are the two clear pleasant surprises so far in this cycle, and when it comes to Tennessee, the question needs to start being asked: where are the commitments?

The Volunteers currently sit with just five commitments for their 2019 class, which ranks tenth in the SEC. Tennessee currently has three prospects committed to its 2019 class who are ranked among the top-350 players in the country.

Four-star offensive tackle Wanya Morris (Loganville, GA.), four-star offensive guard Jackson Lampley (Nashville, TN.), and four-star tight end Jackson Lowe (Cartersville, GA.), are the Volunteers highest-rated commitments thus far.

In comparison to their rivals, Alabama has 12 top-350 commitments and Georgia has eight; it’s easy to see why there should be concern about what is going on in recruiting on Rocky Top.

Another concerning trend forming for the Volunteers is their struggle to attract homegrown talent.

Five of the top-15 players in the state of Tennessee for the 2019 class have already committed and only one, Lampley, has committed to the Volunteers.

Four-star cornerback Maurice Hampton (Memphis, TN.) committed to LSU, four-star defensive end Bill Norton (Memphis, TN.) committed to Georgia, four-star defensive end Ani Izuchukwu (Nashville, TN.) committed to Mississippi State and four-star athlete Keveon Mullins (Memphis, TN.) committed to Memphis.

All these prospects had Tennessee offers and chose to commit elsewhere. This has been a continuing problem for the Volunteers.

If you look back at the top 10 prospects in the state of Tennessee for each of the last four recruiting classes – that’s the 40 highest-ranked players in Tennessee from 2015-2018 – only 12 of them went on to sign with Tennessee.

Translation, 28 of the top 40 prospects in the Volunteers’ backyard over the past four recruiting seasons are currently playing elsewhere. That must stop.

RELATED: Can Jeremy Pruitt’s coaching make up for roster deficiencies in 2018?

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