Biggest Remaining Positions of Need in Vols’ 2017 Recruiting Class

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    With National Signing Day less than a month away, Tennessee’s 2017 recruiting class is nearing full capacity. Currently, the Vols have 26 commitments in their class and don’t have much room to add more than a couple players unless some more attrition occurs.

    But attrition is likely to happen in the waning weeks of this recruiting cycle, and the Vol still have a handful of needs in this class they want to fill.

    With the commitment of elite offensive tackle Trey Smith, Tennessee shored up its offensive line group in this class. And with three linebackers committed including four-star inside linebacker Will Ignont, the Vols are fine at that position too, as well as defensive tackle.

    Tennessee still needs help at other positions, however. And with only a few weeks remaining till Signing Day, the Vols are running out of time to find those additions.

    Running back, cornerback, wide receiver, and defensive end are the biggest remaining needs for the Vols in 2017 class. Tennessee has commitments at all those positions, but they either don’t have enough or need some more early impact or highly-rated players there.

    Running Back

    Ty Chandler headlines Tennessee’s running back class in the 2017 cycle. The four-star running back is one of the highest rated players in the Vols’ class and is considered a top 100 recruit in the country according to 247Sports. But behind him, the Vols have no other true running back in the class. Athlete Trey Coleman is expected to be used as a running back, and he’s done well at the position in high school. But Tennessee could use one more proven player at the position.

    Missing out on Cam Akers a week ago was a big miss for the Vols, as was not picking up commitments from in-state backs Chase Hayden or Cordarrian Richardson.

    But the Vols still have a number of offers out to running backs, and they appear to be top candidates for some of those players. Three-star Darrian Felix, four-star Travis Etienne, and three-star Timothy Jordan are all possible adds for the Vols with Felix being considered the most likely.

    Cornerback

    Tennessee has commitments from several corners already in the 2017 class, but they want and need to add another after a couple corners departed after the end of the 2016 season. Cam Sutton and Malik Foreman both graduated after this year, and three more are set to graduate after the 2017 season (Emmanuel Moseley, Justin Martin, and D.J. Henderson).

    The Vols currently have commitments from Cheyenne Labruzza, Terrell Bailey, and Shawn Shamburger, all three-stars according to 247Sports. Considering the hit the position will be taking in terms of depth, Tennessee could use one more quality prospect at the position.

    Tennessee missed out on Lamont Wade, Yusuf Corker, and Keisean Nixon recently, and now they’re scrambling to find another corner to add to the class. The Vols are still targeting players like three-star Ameer Speed out of Jacksonville, Florida, but it’s dicey whether the Vols can add another corner to their class this late.

    Wide Receiver

    Wide receiver is much like cornerback for the Vols in this class. They have a number of commitments at the position, but the Vols could use another solid commitment to round out the group.

    Jordan Murphy, Princeton Fant, and Jacquez Jones are all three-stars and all receivers currently committed to the Vols. But with Josh Malone leaving early for the NFL draft, Tennessee’s wide receiving corps for 2017 finds itself extremely low on proven depth. No, commits from the 2017 class won’t help in that regard, but Tennessee needs some bodies for the future too with a couple more departures on the horizon in this group.

    Josh Smith, Jeff George, and Jauan Jennings will be the only scholarship receivers on Tennessee’s roster who aren’t sophomores or freshmen next season. And Smith and George at least will be gone after the 2017 season.

    Tennessee is currently in on four-star Jaylen Harris, three-star JaVonta Payton, and three-star Jordan Pouncey at the position. Pouncey recently placed the Vols in his top schools and has an official visit upcoming.

    Defensive End

    The Vols currently have commitments from two weak-side defensive ends in their 2017 class, but they could use another one or two commitments from ends in this cycle considering the amount of departures the position saw this season

    LaTrell Bumphus and DeAndre Johnson are currently committed in Tennessee’s 2017 class, but with Derek Barnett, Corey Vereen, and LaTroy Lewis leaving after this season, more bodies are needed for depth behind players like Kyle Phillips, Darrell Taylor, and Austin Smith.

    Top 50 overall player LaBryan Ray has an official visit upcoming to Tennessee, but he’s considered an Alabama lean at this point. Three-stars Ryan Thaxton and Brandon Jones are more likely adds if the Vols can nab them.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.