The Vols got some good news on the recruiting trail Tuesday as one of the best players in the nation named the Vols in his top four. Jaylen McCollough is an elite safety from Powder Springs, Georgia, and early Tuesday morning, he tweeted out a graphic revealing the final four schools still in contention for his signature.
Final 4 Schools ‼ pic.twitter.com/8iCJ9s1nbQ
— Jaylen McCollough (@Jay_Mccollough2) May 16, 2018
It’s an all SEC final four featuring a pair of schools from the west in Auburn and Alabama, as well as an eastern foe in South Carolina.
McCollough is a big safety. He’s rated as the No. 100 overall player and No. 4 safety in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
McCollough is also the 11th ranked player in Georgia.
McCollough told 247Sports’ Rusty Mansell last week that he was getting ready to release his top four, and he was “going to break that (group) down, talking with family,” over the next few months.
“My final four, that’s a strong four, so it’s going to be hard,” he told Mansell.
Defensive backs coach Charles Kelly has been the primary recruiter, and the two have developed a good relationship. Last week, Kelly traveled down to Georgia to watch McCollough compete in the state championships for track and field.
McCollough will take a few more visits this summer and Tennessee is expected to be one of them. He will likely commit in either August or September.
As for what he’s looking for in a school, he told 247sports, “It just has to be a great place. I have to feel comfortable. My family has to feel comfortable. Every school is the same — they have great academics, great football. It’s just how I feel and how my family feels.”
The Vols are facing an uphill battle, with Alabama as the clear favorite, but McCollough should be one of the priorities in this class. Tennessee graduates two safeties, and if Nigel Warrior has a good season, it’s possible he could turn pro. That leaves the Vols with a glaring need at the position, and this is a guy that could come in and play right away.
At 6-foot-1, 194 pounds, he has the size and strength to play in the SEC. He can creep into the box and play physical, hard nosed football, but he is also exceptional in coverage. The combination of his strength and track speed makes him a swiss army knife of a safety, because he can do so many different things. He is a sure form tackler, and can come up and lay the lumber as well. He is the kind of player that is really valuable to a defense, and also has a great football IQ.
While the Vols may be looking up at Alabama, they still have a few more months to gain ground. The visit he takes in the summer will be important to sell him on the school and the direction of the program. There are a lot of good recruiters on this staff and they certainly believe they can swing things in their favor.