With just one more week left in January, we are ever so close to National Signing Day. After signing day is over, however, the national attention will turn towards the 2019 class. They will become the primary focus in recruiting for all the coaches across the country.
This week, Tennessee offered three highly-rated prospects in the 2019 class. Two were defenders and one is a receiver. And all three are players the Vols could use in the next recruiting cycle.
Wide receiver Quinton Torbor is from Destrehan, Louisiana, and the Vols extended him an offer, becoming the seventh school to offer him.
— Quinton Torbor. (@QTorbor14) January 23, 2018
Torbor played his junior season at Destrehan High School in Louisiana. Tennessee joined several schools pursuing him, including two SEC teams they will be playing in 2018, Auburn and Georgia. He is the state’s 12th best player, and the No. 49 receiver in the 2019 class per the 247Sports Composite rankings. The composite rankings have him as a four-star receiver.
In the 2017 season, the 6-foot-2, 182 pound receiver tallied 25 receptions for 335 yards and five touchdowns. He is a very tough player and has no problem catching the ball in traffic. Opposing defenses will have to worry about the multiple threats he poses. Torbor can challenge the secondary both in the deep and short passing game.
He can be seen on his highlight film highpointing balls over the top of defenders down the field. Torbor also has plenty of plays where he catches it just a few yards down the field and proceeds to make defenders miss. He is still a very raw prospect, but there’s plenty there for his upside.
Ben Smiley from Chesapeake, Virginia, also received an offer from the Vols. The three-star defensive tackle tweeted out the news early Wednesday morning.
— Ben Smiley lll #9️⃣ (@BenSmiley9) January 24, 2018
Smiley is ranked as the 12th best player in the state of Virginia and the No. 29 defensive tackle in the country according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Tennessee is the 16th school to offer him, and the third SEC East school, following South Carolina and Missouri. All four crystal balls point towards Virginia Tech as the favorite to land him. He also has offers from Michigan State and North Carolina.
At 6-4, 265 pounds, Smiley would need to put on some weight to play nose in a true 3-4 defense. But it could be that Tennessee’s coaches would look to play him at defensive end in college. He was first team all-district for Indian River High School last season.
A look at his film shows that he’s an excellent lineman. Smiley is a very explosive lineman. He repeatedly defeats blocks, absolutely dominating the line of scrimmage. He can rush the passer and play the run. His football IQ is above average, especially for a defensive tackle. There is one play on his film where he recognizes the screen and destroys it. He is very strong off the line, but he does go too far upfield on run plays sometimes, exposing himself to traps. His pad level is also consistently too high. He seems like a special player, though his results could be skewed because he has played a lot of weaker competition.
Tennessee crossed enemy lines for their next offer. The best defensive back in the state of Alabama in the 2019 class was offered a scholarship Sunday afternoon. Trikweze Bridges tweeted that it is an “honor” to be offered by Pruitt and the Vols.
— #11Bridges (@TrikwezeB_2) January 24, 2018
Bridges is a composite four star and a top-250 player per the 247Sports Composite rankings. The 6-3, 175 pound safety is from Lanett, Alabama plays for Lanett High School, last year’s 2A state champion. In his junior season, Bridges recorded 98 tackles, 12 tackles for loss, 19 pass breakups, and 12 interceptions. He recovered six fumbles and forced five. He was also part of a receiving duo that accounted for nearly 1,800 yards in the air last season.
Tennessee was the ninth school to offer him, joining the likes of Florida and Alabama.
His film shows why he is so highly regarded. He is the definition of a ball hawking safety. Bridges is a big, physical player that can play all over the field. He can come up and play the run or sit back and read the quarterback. He has a knack for reading the offense and making plays on the ball. Coaches should feel comfortable putting him in the box to help with the run or dropping him deep into coverage because he excels at both. He is also an above average wide receiver, which further demonstrates his natural ability as a football player.
My biggest concern right now is his speed. His 40 time is just a 4.95. That is below average at best, and he will have to play faster in college. I will be intrigued to see how he tests out at camps this offseason.
All three of these prospects are solid players at positions of need for the Vols. All three of their recruitments are still wide open as well. It will be interesting to see how Pruitt and the Volunteers can factor into the equation in the next year.