Vols a Favorite for Possible Diamond in the Rough Lineman

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    (Photo via @william_63_ on Twitter)

    The Vols are on fire right now on the recruiting trail, picking up two commits in the last three days in four-star safety Anthony Harris and three-star safety Aaron Beasley. Along with the two commits, Tennessee made the top five for an under-the-radar offensive lineman from Virginia. Though he may not have the stars, he is certainly a very intriguing prospect.

    William Pritchard was offered by Jeremy Pruitt’s staff only days ago on June 6th. He wasted no time making a trip to Knoxville and was on campus for a visit June 8th. Then on Saturday he released his top five, and the Vols made the list.

    Along with the Vols, the other finalists were Syracuse, Illinois, Virginia Tech, and FCS powerhouse James Madison.

    Tennessee has the advantage in program prestige and facilities, but other schools might be able to offer him early playing time. Additionally, both Virginia Tech and James Madison are in-state options for Pritchard.

    While he may only have received an offer in the last week, he has been in communication with Tennessee’s coaching staff well before that, and he has built a good relationship with coaches Brian Niedermeyer and Will Friend.

    After visiting Knoxville this past weekend, Pritchard told 247Sports that, “Meeting Coach Pruitt and Coach Friend, having an opportunity to work out in front of the whole offensive staff and strength and conditioning team,” were the highlights of his trip. He then added that “Neyland Stadium was absolutely breathtaking.”

    While he isn’t currently rated by 247Sports, that is likely soon to change with the sudden number of Power Five offers he has received lately. He will likely only be a three-star once rated, but he is a real diamond in the rough. He has decent size, standing at 6-foot-3 and weighing 290 pounds, though he will need to get up over 300 in college. He can also bench over 320 pounds and squats 525 pounds.

    One look at Pritchard’s film shows you why all these schools are interested in him. He may not be a flashy prospect, but he can flat out play football. His footwork is outstanding, and he blocks through the echo of the whistle on every play. He does a great job of getting all his cleats in the ground and driving his opponent. He is a smart player, and he excels in both run blocking and pass blocking. His ability to pull is exceptional, and he is great in blocking in space. He is sneakily athletic, which allows him to successfully block smaller and quicker defenders in the open field.

    He does, however, have a tendency to get top-heavy and put his head down when he blocks. If he does that against a good defender, then they will be able to take advantage of that and pull him down forward. At times his pad level is also too high. Pritchard still is an excellent lineman, and his flaws are easily correctable. He just needs some time to develop.

    Pritchard plays for Manchester High School in Midlothian, Virginia, so the level of competition isn’t great. This and his general lack of exposure are the reasons he is so underrated. Tennessee has a great opportunity to land him, and it will likely ultimately come down to UT and Virginia Tech to get his commitment.