Jeremy Pruitt addressed the media following his first full offseason signing period as Tennessee’s head football coach on Wednesday afternoon. The Vols’ new head coach was short on words, but he gave some insight in what little he did say.
Pruitt was pleased with the class he and his staff were able to pull in, and he had plenty of positive things to say about his newest signees.
Here are just a few things he had to say about some of his new players at Tennessee:
On J.J. Peterson: “Has a very unique skill at linebacker. He can play all four positions. He can play man-to-man on third down or rush the quarterback. He can make plays in space also.”
On Greg Emerson: “Greg didn’t play this past year. He’s working out right now. He’s an early enrollee with us right now. He’s almost cleared right now where he can do everything we need him to do.”
On J.T. Shrout: “A guy that was committed to another university. We found him when we were out there. Tyson had some ties in the school, and we’re excited to have him.”
On Dominick Wood-Anderson: “He’s a very talented guy. He can block and then flex out and be a mismatch guy.”
On Trevon Flowers: “When it comes to a defensive back, he’s got excellent ball skills. He could possibly get drafted (in baseball), but he wants to come to school and play football. He’s only done it for a year, so he probably doesn’t have any bad habits.”
Not Done Yet?
Tennessee released their “final” haul of recruits for the 2018 class in a press release shortly after Pruitt spoke to the media. But according to Pruitt, this class may not finished yet.
“I’m not sure that we’re done with this class,” Pruit stated. “There are some guys we could add later on and we’re still looking for guys.”
When asked about grad transfer quarterbacks or other players, Pruitt denied to comment specifically. But the Vols only officially signed 20 players in the class and are expected to blueshirt two others.
The smaller recruiting class coupled with some attrition on the roster this past season is leaving the Vols playing short-handed right now. So Pruitt may do what he can to try and bolster the number of players Tennessee takes in this class.
“If you looked at our roster, from a pure scholarship standpoint we’ll be operating at 75-77,” Pruitt added. “So we’ll definitely be under, so we could probably use guys at every position.”
Were All Needs Addressed?
Pruitt was asked about whether or not the 2018 class filled all of Tennessee’s needs, and he was asked specifically if they were able to address their need at cornerback. But Pruitt apparently didn’t see cornerback as a need on the Vols’ roster despite Tennessee losing two starters and two key backups off last year’s roster.
“Who said cornerback was a need in this class?” Pruitt answered. “To me, seeing some of the guys on this team, we’ve got some guys who can play cornerback. I feel like we addressed our need at that position.”
Tennessee signed defensive back Trevon Flowers and appears to be blueshirting cornerback Brandon Davis. According to Pruitt, Flowers is versatile enough to play any position in the defensive backfield, so he may end up playing corner.
Pruitt was also asked about wide receiver Tyler Byrd potentially switching positions and playing corner. And while Pruitt didn’t specifically say that Byrd would be switching positions, he did acknowledge that there will be players on Tennessee’s roster who move positions this spring.
“There’s guys on our team that will probably change positions on this team,” Pruitt stated. “There may be several of them. You got to find a way to get your best 22 on the field. There might be a running back that plays defensive back. Who knows?
“We’ll see when we get out here and run around a little bit.”