Tennessee officially signed 27 recruits in their 2017 recruiting class on National Signing Day, and a number of those players are expected to come in and contribute immediately. Five-star offensive tackle Trey Smith and four-star running back Ty Chandler headline the class that finished in the top 20 in all major recruiting rankings.
But beyond the top-rated players in the class, who should Vol fans watch out for in this signing class?
Year in and year out, less heralded players in a recruiting class step up and make contributions as freshmen or early in their careers. Three-stars will out-play their ranking, and players who were largely overlooked end up being counted on in pivotal spots. Former three-star cornerback Baylen Buchanan is a perfect example of that in the Vols’ 2016 class, as is former three-star running back John Kelly from the 2015 class.
Here are the five most underrated players in Tennessee’s 2017 signing class. Keep in mind this doesn’t mean just their contributions as freshmen; this list takes into account their overall trajectory as well. If you want the five players who are most likely to make an impact early, we have that angle as well.