Important Commitment Dates Coming Up For Vols

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    The team has headed home for Christmas, coaches are getting a little bit of room to breathe and the NCAA-mandated dead period is in effect for recruiting at this point.

    But there are still a handful of important recruits for Tennessee who will be making their decisions in the coming days. Here’s a look at three names Tennessee fans should know who are scheduled to make a commitment in the next three weeks:

    All rankings are from the 247Sports Composite unless otherwise noted

    DE Matthew Butler (6-4, 265; Garner, N.C.)

    Date: Wednesday, Dec. 21, 3 pm ET

    A three-star prospect ranked as the No. 21 defensive end in the nation, Butler has been a long-time Tennessee target, and the Vols appear to be in good shape to land him this week. South Carolina and Texas A&M, two other schools he took official visits to, are in the mix as well, but UT looks to be the team to beat. Tennessee needs to completely restock the exterior of the defensive line in 2017 with Derek Barnett presumably leaving along with seniors Corey Vereen and LaTroy Lewis. Butler would join Deandre Johnson and  LaTrell Bumphus to give the Vols a trio of pass rushers to do just that.


    CB Yusuf Corker (6-0, 180; Stockbridge, Ga.)

    Date: Monday, Dec. 26

    Cornerback is arguably one of the Vols’ biggest needs in this class after that unit struggled in 2016, and will now have to replace Cam Sutton and Malik Foreman in 2017. The Vols have a trio of three-star prospects already in the class at that position in Cheyenne Labruzza, Terrell Bailey and Shawn Shamburger. They’ll look to add a fourth, and likely final, piece in Corker on the day after Christmas.

    RB Cam Akers (6-0, 180; Stockbridge, Ga.)

    Date: Tuesday, Dec. 27, 8 pm ET

    The nation’s No. 2 running back is the biggest name remaining on the board for the Vols. While Butler and Corker appear to be Tennessee leans, Akers is a bit more of a long shot, but it’s still worth keeping an eye on. Akers and UT running backs coach Robert Gillespie have a great relationship, and the Vols’ recent success on the ground has to be attractive for running backs. But Tennessee will likely need to be content with four-star Ty Chandler, the No. 5 back in the nation, in this class because Akers seems to be leaning to Florida State or Ole Miss. FSU, Alabama, Ole Miss, LSU, Tennessee and Florida will be the hats on the table for the five-star prospect.