Tennessee added commitment No. 29 on Thursday afternoon when four-star linebacker Quart’e Sapp of Alpharetta, Ga., pledged to the Vols at a ceremony at his school.
Sapp is the third, and likely final, linebacker in the 2015 class, joining Darrin Kirkland Jr., who has already enrolled, and Austin Smith of Buford, Ga. The 6-foot-2, 205-pound rangy outside linebacker gives the Vols a versatile tool on defense who could be a good fit in Tennessee’s multiple defense – which regularly asks linebackers to play in space, especially in the nickel package.
“I play outside linebacker, Will, and in that defensive scheme, I will play that role, which is really similar to outside linebacker that I play here,” Sapp said on the live stream from 11alive.com. “With all the guys coming in like Kahlil McKenzie and Shy (Tuttle), those big guys up front mean a lot to a linebacker.”
Sapp also discussed how much Tennessee’s fans, and the other commitments in the class, influenced his decision.
“One of the biggest things was their fan support, and most of the guys that were committed, I met throughout camps and other activities and events,” he said. “Just being able to become friends with them, has similar effects on this recruiting process in talking to them, so we got together and became friends and that helped a lot.”
Our analysis from his RTI profile: “Sapp is a tall, rangy linebacker who would be a natural fit as an outside linebacker in Tennessee’s 4-3 scheme. With the nickel becoming more of the base defense, linebackers like Sapp who can cover are becoming more valuable, even if they don’t have ideal size. Linebacker depth isn’t quite where it needs to be for UT right now, so even with Darrin Kirkland Jr. and Austin Smith already on board in this class, the Vols are glad to add Sapp as well.”
Long thought to be a Tennessee lean in the recruiting process, Sapp chose the Vols over finalists Michigan State, Missouri, Miami and others. He put hats on the table for those three other schools mentioned, but ultimately pulled a UT hat out from under the table when making his final decision.
The Vols are close to – or potentially at – capacity in this class, but are believed to be still looking to add an offensive lineman, such as Drew Richmond or Pat Allen. Butch Jones can’t comment directly on unsigned recruits, but he did leave this message shortly after Sapp’s announcement.
Sapp’s recruiting rankings:
RTI Average: 4-stars