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SEC Recruiting Notebook: Tennessee Wins The Week

sec-recruiting-notebook-gfxAlmost every decision by Tennessee’s first-year coaching staff has been made with recruiting in mind.

That includes their continuous use of the “brick by brick” slogan and last week’s debut of the “Smokey gray” uniforms against Georgia.

So far, it all seems to be paying off.

Tennessee received commitments this week from defensive end Derek Barnett from Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy and offensive lineman Dontavius Blair from Garden City (Kan.) Community College.

Blair, who chose Tennessee over Auburn and Texas A&M, is a key commitment for the Vols. They will likely have to replace the entire offensive line next season, which means Blair will be asked to help right away.

Barnett’s commitment is another example of Tennessee’s improved in-state recruiting. Three of the top four in-state prospects are committed to Tennessee, according to 247Sports.

It was coach Butch Jones and his staff who made the difference in Barnett’s decision.

“I love Coach Jones,” Barnett told “Coach Jones, I feel like, is changing the program around and I trust him a lot and I think he’s a loyal coach and I really want to play for Coach Jones and no one else right now.

“I can’t explain it. I just have a good feeling he’s going to turn the program around and he’s doing that right now. I can’t explain it to you, but I just know.”

Wide receiver Josh Malone from Gallatin, Tenn., knew something was different about Tennessee when he visited Knoxville last weekend. Malone told Volquest he saw an improved game-day atmosphere at Neyland Stadium during his official visit.

“The difference is the atmosphere is a lot more … it’s just a better atmosphere and it wasn’t like going through the motions of just doing things,” Malone said. “They’re doing things the right way.”

Tennessee safety commitment Todd Kelly Jr. agreed. He attended the game during an unofficial visit.

“That game on Saturday speaks for itself,” Kelly told WNML Radio. “Even though we didn’t get the win, just the atmosphere was entirely different. I’ve never seen Neyland Stadium like that, basically in my life. It was just so loud. The fans were enthusiastic.”

Tennessee, which has 26 commitments for the 2014 class, is hoping to see more positive results from last weekend. Uncommitted defensive prospects Clifton Garrett, Dewayne Hendrix and Charles Mosley were all in attendance and expressed positive reactions to their trip to Knoxville.

Mosley, a lineman from Brighton (Tenn.) High School, named Tennessee his leader during the summer. He told Volquest this week he will likely wait to make a decision after he visits other schools, including Alabama, Auburn and Georgia.

Garrett, who has previously named LSU his leader, raved about his trip to Tennessee on social media while he was in Knoxville. The Vols will hope to continue that momentum when defensive coordinator John Jancek visits Garrett on Friday.


Tennessee hopes that trip will pay off for the Vols. Everything else seems to be working right now.


Stanley set to announce

Offensive lineman Donell Stanley from Latta (S.C.) High School will announce his decision on Friday afternoon at 1 ET.

Stanley will choose between South Carolina and Clemson. Alabama and North Carolina were also in the running until he recently trimmed his list to two schools.

“This was a long process for me,” Stanley told Saturday Down South. “I’ve been in it since my freshman year and I’ve seen all I needed to see. I’m not sick of it, but it was time for me to commit.

“To be honest, it was tough because I’ve developed a strong relationship with my top four schools, but I can’t attend all four at one time and I had to make a decision and I did. Now I can focus a lot more at the task at hand at my high school.”

Stanley is ranked the nation’s No. 12 offensive guard by ESPN RecruitingNation. Stanley’s mix of size and athleticism has made him one of the nation’s top prospects. His ESPN scouting report reads in part:

“This player has good height, a wide, thick build and looks to carry his weight well for a 300-pounder. One of the things that jumps out at you is that he possesses very good initial quicks and can get out of his stance and on top of defenders in a hurry.”


Knight no longer committed to Ole Miss

Cornerback Quintavious Knight from Georgia Military College is no longer committed to Ole Miss.

It appeared to be Ole Miss’ decision to go separate ways, according to 247Sports. Knight, whose offer list includes Kentucky, Arizona, Cincinnati, Texas Tech and West Virginia, will likely take his time as he reopens his recruitment.


Ole Miss is hoping to have a successful recruiting weekend as it returns home to face Texas A&M.

Several top prospects will be on campus, including tight end Tyler Luatua from La Mirada, Calif., linebacker Nyles Morgan from Crete, Ill., wide receiver Markell Pack from Purvis, Miss., and running back Bo Scarbrough from Bradenton, Fla.

Morgan attends Crete-Monee High School, which has produced Ole Miss signees Anthony Standifer and Laquon Treadwell the last two years. That’s helped the Rebels in their recruitment of Morgan, who will be taking his first official visit this weekend.

“I look forward seeing a lot of things maybe I didn’t see the first times, and really just enjoy myself and see if the school really fits me,” Morgan told 247Sports. “Looking forward to seeing the game atmosphere and see how they act after the game, and see how the peopel react to each other and see how everything turns out.”

Ole Miss has 20 commitments for the 2014 class.


Williams names his top six

Defensive end Andrew Williams from Eagle’s Landing Christian School in McDonough, Ga., has narrowed his list to six schools: Auburn, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Clemson and Notre Dame.

Williams, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 15 weakside defensive end by 247Sports, maintains he isn’t favoring any of the schools on his list. The most recent Crystal Ball predictions from 247Sports have Auburn as the leader for Williams’ services.

Don’t expect a decision from Williams any time soon. The latest report regarding Williams from Auburn’s 247Sports site reads in part:

“This one could drag out awhile. Look for him to attend a game at Auburn soon. The Tigers are getting an official, and it could take place this fall.”


Berrios expected to decide

Wide receiver Braxton Berrios from Leesville Road High School in Raleigh, N.C., is expected to announce his decision on Saturday, according to the News & Observer.

Berrios is considering Kentucky, South Carolina, Tennessee, Miami and Oregon. Miami has been considered the favorite to land Berrios, who’s ranked the nation’s No. 22 athlete by 247Sports.

Berrios wrote the following on twitter about the five schools he’s considering:

“I’ll start it off with Blue and White, that UK. Secondly 305 to my city Miami whatcha say? Them Ducks are balling out so Quack Quack, been to South Carolina 4 times for good I might be going back. Last but not least I’ll say GBO, those Vols held it down and gave me a show!”




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