Tennessee coach Butch Jones alluded to some potential good news on the recruiting trail at a speaking engagement earlier in the week. The Vols got just that on Sunday afternoon when Hunter Johnson, the No. 1 overall quarterback in the 2017 class, committed to Tennessee, according to multiple recruiting sites.
Johnson, a native of Brownsburg, Ind., is one of the most decorated players in the 2017 recruiting class and is ranked as the No. 1 overall pro-style quarterback and the 11th-best player in the country by 247Sports.
Nationally, he’s ranked as high as fourth by Rivals.com, which also has him as the top-ranked quarterback. Scout.com has him as the 28th best player in the nation and he checks in at No. 40 overall in ESPN’s rankings. He’s a five star on 247Sports and Rivals, and a four star on Scout and ESPN.
Regardless of your ranking service of choice, Johnson is one of the best players in the 2017 cycle and held offers from many of the top programs in the nation, including Florida, Michigan, Oklahoma, Notre Dame and over a dozen other schools.
Johnson, who runs an impressive 4.6 40-yard dash according to his Hudl profile, gives the Vols somewhat of an embarrassment of riches at quarterback. Joshua Dobbs has two years of eligibility remaining heading into the 2015 season, while he’s backed up by two true freshmen in Quinten Dormady and Sheriron Jones, both of whom were four-star prospects coming out of high school and have shown a lot of promise in fall camp. The 2016 class is anchored by four-star QB Jarrett Guarantano – the No. 2 overall dual-threat quarterback in his class and an Elite 11 finalist in 2015.
According to the 247Sports Crystal Ball, the Vols also lead for top 2018 quarterback Trevor Lawrence. A lot can happen in recruiting and nothing is official until LOIs are signed, and on-campus quarterbacks can also transfer, but for the time being, the Vols look to have their most impressive quarterback situation in many, many years.
Johnson is currently the only commitment in Tennessee’s 2017 class, a class that is expected to be loaded in the state of Tennessee and could be a really, really big year for the Vols on the recruiting trail.
RTI average: 4.5-stars
How He Fits:
While one could easily argue that the Vols didn’t need a ton of help at the quarterback position, Hunter Johnson is an elite talent that any program in the country would gladly take. While recruiting services have him listed as a pro-style QB, he has been clocked in the 4.6-range in the 40-yard dash (the same as 2015 Vol pledge Jarrett Guarantano) and possesses plenty of athleticism to be considered a rushing threat from the position. Johnson is incredibly accurate in roll-out situations (to either side of the field), but has plenty of arm strength to deliver accurate passes deep down the field from the pocket. His pocket awareness is off the charts and he understands the importance of leading his receiver – not only to help with accuracy, but also to lead his receivers away from defenders and into open space. He fits slants, outs, curls…etc. into tight windows with zip and accuracy, yet has enough touch and precision to fit deeper passes over corners and linebackers but between closing safeties. He is a multiple-read quarterback, meaning that he understands how to go through a progression to find his second, third, or even fourth option on a play without holding the ball too long.
Safe to say, Johnson is easily one of the best quarterbacks in the 2017 class, if not the outright leader based on development, physical skills, and understanding of the game. His addition should send shockwaves across the country and give the Vols a huge head start for the 2017 class, which was already shaping up to be on of Butch Jones’ best at Tennessee.
More analysis to come