It’s apparent that Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt and his staff have confidence in their ability to evaluate talent. That was never more apparent when they offered 2018 receiver Jordan Young earlier this week.
At the time he was offered, Young wasn’t even a ranked prospect by a single recruiting service in the country. Thursday, he was rated as a four-star and top 200 overall player by 247Sports, and Friday he committed to the Vols. A move that might have been questioned just days ago has now paid off for Tennessee’s coaches.
The Vols have now offered another under the radar prospect. Three-star offensive lineman Ryan Winkel tweeted out on Friday that Tennessee had extended a scholarship to him for the 2018 recruiting cycle.
— Ryan Winkel (@_ryanwinkel_) January 19, 2018
Winkel is a Knoxville native and played his first two years of high school football at Bearden. He then moved to Memphis and he finished his career at Christian Brothers High School where he and his teammates enjoyed a 10-0 regular season in 2017.
While he may not be ranked very high right now (he’s just the 1,840th player in the country per the 247Sports Composite rankings), Winkel still has an impressive offer list. Fellow SEC schools Arkansas, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State are all in hot pursuit of his services, and Nebraska and Northwestern have also offered him. Mississippi State is currently the favorite to land him, and he is currently on a visit there this weekend.
Measuring in at 6-foot-6, 290 pounds, Winkel has the build of an FBS lineman. He is a very raw prospect, though. His technique needs plenty of work; his feet are sometimes slow and his pad level is too high. He is, however, a very natural blocker. He has that “killer instinct” that can’t be coached, routinely blocking through the echo of the whistle. He is a strong player, and he is a physical presence on the line of scrimmage. He also has an above average football IQ.
Offensive line is on of the bigger positions of need for the Vols. They lack depth at the position and need to add some players in the cycle. Ryan Winkel isn’t an instant impact player, but he definitely has potential down the road.