Vols in Top 5 for Elite 2016 DT Derrick Brown

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    Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling

    Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling

    The rich have a chance to get even richer on the defensive front.

    Elite 2016 defensive tackle Derrick Brown, ranked as a five-star and the No. 4 overall player in the nation, according to 247Sports, released a list of his eight top schools on Monday afternoon and the Vols came in at No. 4 on the SEC-only group of finalists.

    Tennessee loaded up in the 2015 signing class at defensive tackle – signing five-star Kahlil McKenzie, four-star Shy Tuttle and three-star Quay Picou, in addition to several quality defensive ends as well. But there’s no such thing as too much depth at that spot and Tennessee, which will lose Owen Williams and Trevarris Saulsberry after the 2015 season, will be looking for some more help at defensive tackle.

    It remains to be seen how serious of a contender the Vols will be with Brown. Georgia is out in front for the 6-foot-5, 290-pound Buford (Ga.) product with Alabama and Auburn in front of UT as well.

    Tennessee has done well in the Buford area recently, landing both Picou and linebacker signee Austin Smith in the 2015 class. Brown, however, attends Lanier High School, so the connection may not be strong enough to give the Vols much of an edge.

    Getting Brown on campus will be crucial for Tennessee. If the Vols can do that at some point during the 2016 recruiting cycle, it’s hard to rule them out, but they have some ground to make up if they want to go back-to-back on top-ranked DTs.

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