Despite missing his entire senior year of high school, expectations are still high for Tennessee defensive lineman Greg Emerson. And one national analyst believes he could be one of the top incoming freshmen for the 2018 season.
According to football statistician and analyst Phil Steele, Emerson is one of the top 10 true freshman defensive linemen heading into the 2018 season. Steele released his list of the top 50 true freshman defensive linemen for the 2018 season, and Emerson was near the top of the rankings. He lists Emerson as No. 9 on his list, and he’s second only to Texas A&M’s Max Wright in terms of incoming freshmen defensive linemen on his list.
Emerson was rated as a four-star and the No. 136 overall player in the 2018 recruiting class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Many believe he would’ve been rated even higher if not for him missing his entire senior season of high school football. Emerson broke his fibula and dislocated his ankle during Nike’s The Opening last summer, and he had to sit out his entire final year of high school because of the injuries.
At one point, Emerson was the second-highest rated player in the state of Tennessee. But his injury caused him to slip in the rankings, and he ultimately finished fifth in the state of Tennessee in the 2018 class. But Steele thinks that injury was only a minor setback, and he believes Emerson is still one of the best freshman defensive linemen heading into this season.
Emerson enrolled early this year and is currently practicing with the Vols as they run through spring practices this year.
Another Tennessee defensive lineman also made Steele’s list. Four-star defensive lineman Brant Lawless, who will join the Vols’ roster after this spring, came in at No. 43 on Steele’s rankings. Former Vol commit D’Andre Litaker was ranked No. 36 by Steele. Litaker decommitted from the Vols just days before National Signing Day this year and has yet to sign with a school.