Tennessee’s coaches have done a good job of identifying under the radar prospects in the 2018 class. Those discoveries have been born of necessity; the Vols’ coaching staff hasn’t had a lot of time to come in and form relationships with a ton of highly-rated players (though they’ve done a good job getting Tennessee on the radars of some of them), and Jeremy Pruitt himself was only head coach for two weeks once the early signing period wrapped up.
The Vols needed to find some overlooked players in order to fill some needs. And it appears they’ve found another such player in the 2018 cycle.
Tennessee currently has four-star receiver Jordan Young committed in their class. But Young wasn’t rated at all the day before he committed to the Vols. His gaudy stats and flashy highlight reel made him an overnight phenom, though, and he ended up earning a four-star rating by 247Sports, and fans and teams around the country suddenly knew who Jordan Young was.
Now it looks as though the Vols may be losing Young.
Young visited Florida State this past weekend for the last recruiting weekend of the 2018 cycle, and he came away very impressed. He even changed his Twitter bio to read “Wide Receiver at The Florida State University” instead of a pro-Tennessee message. He even scrubbed some of his tweets telling other recruits to come to UT.
With Young looking more and more like he’s gone, Tennessee needed to find another receiver to add in the class. Because it also looks highly unlikely that the Vols can land four-star Jacob Copeland. And the Vols’ coaches found another possibly diamond in the rough.
Tennessee extended a scholarship offer to Cedric Tillman on Sunday. Tillman is a 6-foot-3, 200 pound wide receiver out of Las Vegas. The Vols are his first Power Five offer, and his only other offers are from Hawaii, UNLV, and Weber State. Tyson Helton, Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, had looked at Tillman while at USC, but the Trojans never gave him an offer.
— Cedric Tillman (@Ctillman04) February 5, 2018
According to 247Sports, Tillman is a three-star receiver and is the No. 1,220 overall player and No. 180 wide receiver in the class. He’s not rated at all by the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Tillman’s size is what immediately stands out about him, and it shows on his film too. But he doesn’t just have size; Tillman has exceptional speed for his height as well. His film shows him catching several jump balls, but he also outruns defenders when he catches passes in traffic or over the middle as well. He’s a very physical receiver too, and he’s extremely hard to tackle. He needs some work on his route running, but very few receivers are crisp route runners out of high school.
As a senior, Tillman caught just 37 passes. But he made every one of those catches count, as he totaled 774 yards and seven touchdowns on those 37 receptions, giving him a 20.9 yard per catch average. He also returned a punt 69 yards for a score, giving him eight total touchdowns on just 38 touches.
It’s worth noting that Tillman’s quarterback at Bishop Gorman High School was four-star UCLA commit Dorian Thompson-Robinson. As a senior, Thompson-Robinson completed 68.5 percent of his passes for 3,278 yards, 38 touchdowns, and just three interceptions. He also ran for 425 yards and seven scores.
Time will tell if either Young or Tillman turn out to be true overlooked stars. But give credit to Tennessee’s staff for finding these players who have gone unheralded for so long who have solid stats and great highlight films.