Pruitt, Vols Make Impression on No. 1 Overall Recruit in 2019 Class

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    (Photo via David T. Foster III/Charlotte Observer)

    When Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt as their head coach, one of the biggest appeals for UT was the potential he brought on the recruiting trail. Pruitt and his staff were able to pull together an impressive early signing period class for the Vols in December, and Tennessee’s 2018 signing class as a whole ended up being strong overall.

    But Pruitt said himself that they have lofty goals for their 2019 class. And their efforts are already starting to show.

    Quavaris Crouch, the No. 1 overall prospect in the 2019 class according to Rivals, recently did an interview with Adam Friedman of Rivals.com about his visits he just finished and his overall recruitment. And he had nothing but positive things to say about Tennessee and Pruitt.

    “At Tennessee, I like coach Pruitt and I feel like they have something going,” Crouch said in the interview. “There a lot of new faces up there from other places.”

    Crouch, who plays for Harding University in Charlotte, North Carolina, visited the Vols on January 13th and picked up an offer from Florida on the same day. He most recently visited Clemson for their Junior Day events on January 20th. He holds offers from every top school you can imagine. Clemson, Alabama, Georgia, Michigan, Stanford, Texas A&M, Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Texas, and others have all extended offers to Crouch.

    Though he’s the No. 1 overall player on Rivals, Crouch is listed as the No. 18 overall player according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. They do have him as a five-star, however, and he’s the No. 2 running back in the 2019 class according to those rankings.

    But Crouch may not even play running back in college if he continues to grow and develop like he has. He’s already 6-foot-2, 225 pounds and he’s a more than capable defender as well.

    According to an interview with his head coach, Sam Greiner, Crouch could eventually size out of the running back position and focus his time exclusively on defense.

    “He’s the best running back, no doubt, coming out (of the 2019 class),” Greiner told the Charlotte Observer, “but he understands, long term, what the deal is with running backs. (Pittsburgh Steelers) star Le’Veon Bell is the best running back in the (NFL), and he may get franchise-tagged again and he can’t get a long-term contract. And Quavaris still has that baby face. There’s a chance he grows another inch and gains another 25 pounds, especially once he gets to a college on a (training table). So he could be 6-3, 265 and be the next Lawrence Taylor.

    “And I’m not just saying that. He’s that special.”

    Crouch played both running back and linebacker for Harding last season, and he was wildly successful at both. In fact, he nearly set a record for most rushing yards in a single season in the county he plays in. As a junior, Crouch ran for 3,283 yards and 33 touchdowns, and that included a performance in which he totaled 334 yards on just 21 carries. That total was good enough for the 14th-most yards in a single game in Mecklenburg County history. The record for the most rushing yards in a single season in county history came from Elijah Hood in 2013 when he ran for 3,609 yards. Hood went on to have a successful career with North Carolina in college and is now on the Oakland Raiders roster in the NFL.

    But Crouch doesn’t just play running back. He also plays linebacker for Harding, and even in his more limited time on defense he still totaled 48 tackles and 14 sacks.

    And it’s that versatility that makes his head coach believe Crouch could be something special in college.

    “My gut tells me he has no clue yet, and that everyone has a chance,” Greiner said of Crouch’s recruitment. “But my gut tells me he’s going to be a Heisman. He will be the first guy you see that predominately plays defense and they’ll have a package for him to run the ball in the red zone.

    “Like I said, he’s that special.”