First Look: 21 prospects to know in 2021 class
With Tennessee inking 20 signees during the Early Signing Period, Jeremy Pruitt & Co., gave Vol fans some early Christmas gifts, especially with going 5-for-5 on early decisions last week.
As the calendar turns, the Vols will look to flip Auburn defensive lineman Jay Hardy, as well as land prospects like Dee Beckwith and cornerback Daran Branch.
But much of the focus in January will be on courting future Vols in the Class of 2021. As Pruitt has said throughout the last year, "the old May has now become January."
So with a sped up calendar, here are 21 early names to know for the 2021 class.
Maye committed to Alabama over the summer after visiting Tennessee, North Carolina and others. The 4-star has remained solid despite the Tide signing three quarterbacks the last two cycles, including 2020 5-star Bryce Young. Still, with such a crowed QB room, Maye could explore his options this cycle, with the Vols and Tar Heels continuing to push for a flip.
The Bullis School product is a favorite of Chris Weinke and Joe Osovet, visiting Tennessee twice since the summer. Penn State and West Virginia are considered the favorites for the Maryland standout but Tennessee could push this January.
Howard, a Knoxville native, committed to the Vols this past June before transferring to Baylor School in Chattanooga where he had a big junior season. The speedster was a star running back for the Red Raiders but projects to play cornerback for the Vols, as Derrick Ansley and Jeremy Pruitt love Howard's upside on defense.
The in-state tackle is among the top OL targets for the Vols in 2021. Griffin holds offers Alabama, Ohio State and South Carolina, among others, with all three schools early factors for the Pearl-Cohn product. Griffin visited Tennessee twice for games this fall.
The 6-6, 220 pound tight end is a Michigan State legacy, where his father played linebacker. However, schools in the Southeast have quickly caught the Ravenwood product's attention, with Clemson and Alabama the current favorites. Tennessee is in the mix, hosting Briningstool on a visit in November. The 4-star is currently eyeing a decision this spring.
Wolfe is ranked as the nation's No. 1 tight end, per Rivals. He's been a frequent visitor on Rocky Top, attending games and camps the last two years. Alabama is pushing hard for the in-state standout, but Brian Niedermeyer and Jeremy Pruitt have the Vols among the top choices for Wolfe.
Johnson camped at Tennessee this summer, flashing his length and ball-skills during an individual workout for Ansley. The West Virginia native runs a 4.5 at close to 200 pounds and already holds more than 20 offers. Georgia, Tennessee and Florida are all early factors for Johnson, with Penn State, Oklahoma and the homstate West Virginia Mountaineers in the mix, too.
The former South Carolina commit could play running back, receiver or defensive back in college. The Vols are one of many SEC schools vying for Carrol's services, joining LSU, Florida and Auburn.
Tennessee's staff are big fans of the lengthy pass rusher from Alabama. Lawson earned a UT offer almost immediately after Pruitt took over the program in December 2017. Alabama, LSU, Georgia, Ole Miss and Tennessee are early factors for the Mobile Christian standout.
The Virginia Beach star is the most recent addition to the 2021 class, committing to the Vols in November. Evans picked Tennessee over FSU, Virginia and Va. Tech after a weekend visit. Evans comes from a family line of DBs, with his brothers Levonata Taylor (FSU) and Keontae Jenkins (TCU) are both D-1 prospects.
Mosley pulled the trigger for Tennessee over the summer, picking the Vols during a visit over more than a dozen offers. The Alabama playmaker is close with Tee Martin and flashed some impressive camp numbers as a rising junior, clocking a 4.5 at UT and jumping 37.5 inches.
Robinson earned a Tennessee offer in May and then the 4-star attended one of the Vols' cookout weekends in late July. The 4-star pass rusher holds close to 20 offers, with the Vols among a litany of SEC schools seeking Robinson's services.
Like several prospects on this list, Brooks is an Alabama native with interest in Tennessee due to Pruitt and former Yellowhammer State coaches like Kevin Sherrer and Derrick Ansley. Brooks visited Tennessee multiple times since the spring, including attending two games this fall. The Vols, along with Alabama, LSU and Auburn are currently battling for the 4-star outside linebacker.
Page has been a popular visitor to Tennessee in the last year, developing a strong relationship with several coaches. The Vols were one of five SEC schools to make his Top 10 just two months ago. Clemson and UNC are considered the favorites for the North Carolina native, but Tennessee has a real chance to pull the 315 pound tackle out of state.
Tennessee was one of the first schools to extend an offer to the Memphis native last season. Pennington is capable of playing offensive or defensive tackle, with the Vols keeping an open mind about a future position (although OT is the likeliest outcome). Pennington did not visit UT this fall but he plans on returning to town in the coming months.
The Vols got in the door early with Price, becoming the first SEC school to extend an offer in July. Price is a priority target for Tracy Rocker and Pruitt, who are looking to add more natural pass rushers — at DL and OLB — to the 2021 class.
Turrentine had a strong junior season and visited many of the top programs in the country this fall, including Alabama, Ohio State and LSU. The Ensworth product also made his way to Knoxville a couple of times. Turrentine is close with UT signee Keshawn Lawerence and is among the top in-state targets for the Vols in 2021.
Tennessee staff is big fans of Shipley — just like everyone else in the country. The speedy and shifty tailback holds more than two dozen offers and has visited Georgia, Clemson, Alabama, Penn State, Ohio State and Notre Dame just this fall. The Vols are pushing for a visit to get in the mix with the 4-star playmaker.
Washington camped at Tennessee this summer and earned an offer on the spot from Tracy Rocker & Co. The 6-3, 270-pound end made his way back to campus this fall to watch the Vols beat South Carolina. Auburn, South Carolina and UNC are also in the mix for Washington.
Tennessee made Williams' top schools list last month, along with another 10-12 programs. The Alabama linebacker visited Rocky Top. for the Georgia game in early October. Auburn and Kentucky are recruiting Williams hard, same for Kevin Sherrer and the Vols.
Jones was a camp find by Ansley, working out the Demopolis product and giving him an offer a day later. Roughly a month after that, Jones committed to Tennessee, citing Ansley as the primary reason.