Vols “Back Into the Fold” With Five-Star Offensive Tackle

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    Once Tennessee hired Jeremy Pruitt as head coach and he started bringing in his staff, the Vols began to make progress on recruits they didn’t stand a chance of landing with the previous coaching staff. If not for Pruitt and his staff, Tennessee likely doesn’t sign four-star Jerome Carvin, four-star Dominick Wood-Anderson, three-star Jahmir Johnson, three-star Jeremy Banks, and several others in their 2018 class.

    Pruitt and his staff also got the Vols in on other highly-rated players heading into National Signing Day, though they ultimately missed on those prospects. But if not for the new coaching staff, Tennessee wouldn’t have even been on those players’ radars.

    Now the Vols are back into the mix for one of the top offensive tackles in the 2019 class because of their new staff according to the prospect’s high school coach.

    Darnell Wright is a 6-foot-6, 290 pound offensive tackle who plays for Huntington High School in Huntington, West Virginia. He’s rated by the 247Sports Composite rankings as a five-star and the No. 20 overall player in the country. He’s the No. 3 offensive tackle in the 2019 class by those rankings as well.

    And according to his high school coach, the Vols are now back on his list thanks to the new coaching staff.

    “I think it’s kinda brought them back into the picture, to be honest with you,” said Billy Seals, the head coach of Huntington High School, in an interview on VSporto’s SEC Recruiting Buzz. “I’m not sure that with the previous staff that would’ve been a place that Darnell would have went to. But I think the new staff and the guys that have been hired there at Tennessee, and the championships they’ve won and the staff they’ve put together, I think that gets them back into the fold with Darnell.”

    Butch Jones and his coaching staff offered Wright back in January of 2017, and Wright has actually unofficially visited Tennessee twice since then. But he hasn’t been on the Vols’ campus since Tennessee’s game against Georgia last season, and he’s picked up some big offers since then.

    Georgia, Clemson, Miami, Penn State, Florida State, LSU, and Oregon have all extended offers to Wright since he last visited the Vols on September 30th. And he added those offers to offers he already held from Alabama, Ohio State, Oklahoma, USC, and others.

    But now that Tennessee’s new staff is intact, Wright wants to come back to Knoxville to see what they offer.

    “I know that he wants to visit there again, as well,” Seals said. “We had one scheduled, and inclement weather hit us and we weren’t allowed to go there in January. But he’s looking forward to getting there as well as some other places he’s already visited he wants to visit again.”

    Seals would go on to add that Wright’s visits would likely come after basketball season ends, and that might not be till late March. But once the time comes, he wants to go see places he’s already visited, like Tennessee, but he also wants to go to new places like Georgia, Clemson, Miami, USC, and Oklahoma.

    Right now, Ohio State is the heavy favorite to land Wright. Seals stated that the Buckeyes are “one of (Wright’s) schools” and that their proximity to home and championship caliber helps them stand out. He also added that Alabama is likely one of Wright’s top choices right now.

    Tennessee needs more talented players along the offensive line in 2019 and moving forward. And the Vols’ new staff will do their best to try and land highly-rated players like Wright in order to address that unit.

    And with Pruitt and his staff now at the helm, it seems the Vols’ chances of getting players like Wright are increasing with every passing day.



    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.