Tennessee has been hot on the recruiting trail in the month of May. So you can excuse Tennessee’s players if they’re a little confident in their new coaching staff’s ability to go get any prospect they want. And that’s apparently how Jarrett Guarantano feels right now.
Guarantano took to Twitter on Monday to all but guarantee that the Vols will pick up a junior college wide receiver for next season. Rutgers wide receiver Ahmir Mitchell announced his transfer destination to Arizona Western, and Guarantano commented only moments later that he expects the former four-star recruit to end up with Tennessee by the beginning of next year.
— JUCO Football Frenzy (@JUCOFFrenzy) May 21, 2018
And here was Guarantano’s guarantee:
He’ll be a Vol in January, watch. https://t.co/JyJHpUL7am
— Jarrett Guarantano✞ (@BroadwayJay2) May 21, 2018
Mitchell and Guarantano were both highly-rated prospects out of New Jersey in the 2016 recruiting class. According to the 247Sports composite rankings, Mitchell was the No. 161 overall player and No. 9 athlete in the 2016 class. Guarantano was the No. 79 player and No. 1 dual-threat quarterback in that class. Both were ranked inside the top five in the state of New Jersey.
But that’s not the only connection the Vols have with Mitchell.
Mitchell’s new school, Arizona Western, has given the Vols a handful of players since Jeremy Pruitt and his staff took over at Tennessee. Four-star tight end Dominick Wood-Anderson and three-star offensive tackle Jahmir Johnson signed with the Vols in the 2018 class, and both played at Arizona Western last year. Tennessee’s coaches also pursued wide receiver Jaron Woodyard and running back Greg Bell from the school in last year’s class too.
Tennessee has several connections to the talented wide receiver. But will Pruitt and his staff take a chance on the 6-foot-3, 205 pound receiver given his track record?
Arizona Western is Mitchell’s third school in three years. He originally committed to Michigan out of high school and enrolled in the school. But he never saw the field for the Wolverines and was suspended early on in his career there, though head coach Jim Harbaugh declined to specify why he was suspended. He announced he was transferring before the 2016 season even began, and he ended up going to Rutgers. After sitting out the 2016 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Mitchell appeared ready to go in 2017 and was even listed as a starting wide receiver for the Scarlet Knights.
But then Mitchell suffered a season-ending ACL injury just one week into fall camp, and he never saw the field for Rutgers.
In late October, Rutgers announced the dismissal of Mitchell for a “violation of team rules.” Head coach Chris Ash didn’t specify beyond that as to why Mitchell was being dismissed. Now Mitchell is heading to Arizona Western to try and show other schools what he can do at the JUCO ranks and to try and change the image around him.