Vols Have Made an Impact with Five-Star Cornerback

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    (Photo via @KinggChris7 on Twitter)

    Tennessee hasn’t picked up a commitment from a cornerback as of yet in their 2019 recruiting class. But they’re in on a number of highly-rated players at the position, and it appears they’ve made quite the impression on one of the highest-rated players in the cycle.

    Chris Steele is a 6-foot-1, 178 pound corner from Bellflower, California. He holds offers from just about four dozen schools, and he’s being pursued by all the top schools in the country. But in an interview with Tom Lemming of The Lemming Report on CBS Sports Radio, Steele named three schools who have stood out to him most in his recruitment.

    “Alabama, Tennessee, and Oklahoma are just a few schools to name,” Steele said.

    Steele recently named his top eight schools earlier this month, and the Vols made that list along with Oklahoma. Interestingly, Alabama wasn’t on there at the time, but in-state power USC was.

    According to Rivals.com, Steele is a five-star corner in the 2019 class. The 247Sports Composite rankings have him just outside the five-star range, but he’s still a top-50 overall player. Those rankings have him as the No. 39 prospect in the 2019 cycle and the No. 4 cornerback in the class. He currently holds offers from Alabama, USC, UCLA, Florida, Miami, Oregon, LSU, Florida State, Penn State, and many others.

    Steele isn’t afraid to get physical with receivers, and he has a knack for swatting away passes that look like they’re about to be completed. He’s adept at playing man-to-man coverage, and he has great awareness. His head is always on a swivel, and he always seems to know where the ball is at all times. He’ll need to put on some more weight once in college, and his film doesn’t show him playing very much press coverage. But he has the tools to succeed at the next level.

    Right now, USC is still the favorite to land Steele despite him not mentioning them in the interview. Pulling away top talent, especially at cornerback, away from the Trojans in the state of California is never easy. The Vols found that out the hard way in the last recruiting cycle with five-stars Olaijah Griffin and Isaac Taylor-Stuart.

    But if the Vols can keep up the pressure on Steele, they might be able to pull off the coup and land a talented corner from California after all.

    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.