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Takeaways From Orange Carpet Day

OrangeCarpetDay

Many SEC programs have a recruiting “event” or two over the course of the summer – something to attract a ton of big names and top targets in an effort to build momentum, get the top recruits to know each other and hopefully grab some commitments, or at least move up the list for top targets as the regular season approaches.

Tennessee held its second “Orange Carpet Day” of the summer on Saturday and hosted a fairly star-studded list of visitors that included some five-star talent and some really important pieces for the 2016, 2017 and 2018 classes.

Here are a few big-picture takeaways from the event as social media reaction and reports from the day have rolled in.

1. Getting RB Tavien Feaster and WR Kyle Davis in was huge

It’s difficult to overstate how big it was for the Vols to get these guys on campus given some of the needs in the upcoming class. Running back, in particular, has been a spot Tennessee hasn’t had a ton of success in during this recruiting cycle with misses on guys like B.J. Emmons and Matt Falcon and not a ton of momentum of Elijah Holyfield right now.

But getting back in the picture with Feaster – a Clemson commitment – is huge. The 6-foot, 205-pound back from Spartanburg, S.C. is a composite five-star on 247Sports and would clearly fit the need for a star back in this class that could be groomed for a year and then take over when Jalen Hurd and/or Alvin Kamara decide to move on.

And while the Vols have had some success at receiver with commitments from TD Marshall, Jeff George and Corey Henderson, you can tell they are still looking for that home run to add this class. Donnie Corley, who didn’t make it in, might qualify as that. Some others like Diondre Overton or Binjimen Victor could be candidates as well, but Kyle Davis would be an unquestioned grand slam in this area. Georgia looks to be a tough competitor for him, but getting Davis on campus was huge.

https://twitter.com/KDSZN/status/624998208100519936

2. Guarantano’s presence is always huge

There may be some level of disappointment that Guarantano wasn’t able to bring some friends such as Kareem Walker and Rashan Gary down from New Jersey, but anytime the Vols’ highly-ranked quarterback commitment makes it in for a big weekend, it’s like having an extra ace recruiter.

He’s a natural leader and recruits – especially the skill players – seem to gravitate to him at events like this.

3. Old faces returned

With excitement over some of the new targets emerging, don’t forget about somebody like defensive back Joejuan Williams, who remains one of the top targets on Tennessee’s board. He made it in for the first time in over a year. Commitments such as Guarantano, Austin Pope and Devante Brooks made it in as well.

https://twitter.com/JoejuanW/status/625059942068654082

4. New faces emerge 

Some of the most encouraging news was getting four-star offensive tackle E.J. Price on campus and jumping into his top three with Auburn and Georgia. While the Vols aren’t in the desperate situation they were in last year in terms of finding a ton of help at offensive line, they do need more than the one commitment (Ryan Johnson) in this class. And with the news that highly-ranked target Bryce Mathews committed to Ole Miss earlier in the weekend, it’s important to gain ground with players like Price.

Four-star receiver Mykel Jones is another player that Tennessee hasn’t been heavily linked to until recently. He seemed to come away impressed, giving the Vols yet another name to add to their WR board.

https://twitter.com/Ej_Price77/status/625042792834838528

5. No-shows are part of it, but still hurt 

No recruiting event like this in history, seemingly, has had 100% attendance of everybody the coaches were hoping to make it in. In addition to not getting some of Guarantano’s New Jersey buddies down like had been hoped at one point, some other top targets like Nigel Warrior, Donnie Corley and Mecole Hardman didn’t make it in as hoped.

And it wasn’t related to Orange Carpet Day per se, but the Vols also lost a commitment from 2017 defensive lineman Jordon Riley. So while there was a lot to celebrate for Tennessee, there were some bumps this weekend as well.

6. Building for the future

The 2016 recruits are the best known names right now and, in a sense, the most important, but several elite 2017 and 2018 prospects made it on campus as the Vols look to build foundations for those classes as well.

Tennessee has a chance to continue to build on its embarrassment of riches at quarterback as the Vols got top-ranked 2017 quarterback Hunter Johnson on campus again, and continue to be a major factor for him. Elite 2017 DB Deangelo Gibbs made it in, as did four-star ATH Jamyest Williams, linebacker Breon Dixon and several others in the next couple recruiting cycles.

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