Spring is an important time for a first-year head coach. Jeremy Pruitt is going through spring practices, which is his first chance to work with his new team in a football setting. This lays the groundwork for his first season at the helm. Spring is also an important time for recruiting. Prospects are coming in and out every day on unofficial visits, and it is important for this new coaching staff to make a positive impression.
Several visitors were on campus this weekend as the Vols had another scrimmage Saturday night in Neyland Stadium. Many of those visitors were recruits in the 2020 class, but there were a handful of 2019 prospects as well. One of those 2019 players left his visit very impressed.
Jamie Pettway, an outside linebacker from Alabany, Georgia, was in Neyland for the scrimmage, and afterwards he tweeted out a picture with Pruitt saying that Tennessee felt like home to him.
— PETTWAY🦍 (@JamiePettway42) April 15, 2018
Pettway plays high school ball at Westover High School. The outside linebacker is a composite three-star per 247Sports, and those rankings have him as the No. 633 overall player and No. 45 outside linebacker in the 2019 class.
Tennessee offered Pettway on February 21st, joining the likes of Maryland, Kentucky and South Carolina, as well as a handful of other programs. Though he seemed to be very impressed with his visit to Tennessee, Pettway did not make a public commitment to the Vols during his visit.
Pettway is an athletic player with a big frame. He runs a 4.62 40 yard dash, and he stands at a solid 6-foot-3, 230 pounds. His biggest knock right now as an athlete is his strength, as his bench press max is just 255 pounds, and he squats just 420 pounds. However, those numbers shouldn’t be too concerning as he has the frame too put on a lot of muscle in a college weight program.
Despite those pedestrian weight room numbers, Pettway doesn’t appear to lack any strength on the field. He can be seen defeating blockers with ease on a consistent basis on his highlight film. He loves to hit and gets to the right spot on the field consistently. His eyes are good as he does a good job processing the offense and making the right read. He is an every-down linebacker at the next level, something coaches find very valuable. He shows that he can rush the passer as well as defend the run, and he also presents value in pass coverage. He doesn’t excel in any one area, but he is above average in all three.
As a junior, Pettway totaled 97 tackles, three fumble recoveries, and an interception.
The Vols are definitely in the running for Pettway’s commitment, and they can build on the momentum of his positive unofficial visit. It will be important to get him on campus this fall for an official visit, but right now Tennessee’s coaches have to like their chances. His recruitment will likely come down to South Carolina and Tennessee.