The old adage that football “is won in the trenches” is an accurate one. Typically the teams with the best offensive and defensive lines are the best teams year in and year out. The Vols struggled mightily with both those units last year, and Tennessee’s new coaching staff has made adding more pieces to both those units a big priority in recruiting.
And one of the top defensive tackles in the 2019 cycle has liked what he’s heard from UT’s coaches so far.
Jowon Briggs is an athletic defensive lineman from Cincinnati, Ohio. He tweeted recently that he has a top 10 list of schools, and Tennessee was included in that list.
Here’s my top ten as of now
— Jowon M. Briggs (@briggsjowon0) June 19, 2018
The Vols join Big 10 powers Ohio State, Michigan State, and Penn State along with two other SEC schools in Alabama and Kentucky in his list. Tennessee offered Briggs back on January 10th, and he unofficially visited Tennessee’s campus on March 24th. He’s also unofficially visited Michigan State within the last week.
Briggs is listed as the No. 59 overall player and No. 5 defensive tackle in the 2019 class according to the 247Sports Composite rankings. Those rankings also have him as the No. 2 player in the state of Ohio, trailing only five-star defensive end Zach Harrison.
The 6-foot-2, 275-pound Briggs has played a lot of defensive end for Walnut Hills High School. And he’s done it well, as that’s allowed him to show off his athleticism and speed. But with his frame and after watching his film, it’s apparent that he can develop into an elite-level defensive tackle and has the body type to add 30 or more pounds and still be explosive.
Briggs is a strong lineman who knows how to use his big body effectively. He has a good bull rush technique and uses his athleticism to blow by slower guards when he’s lined up inside. He knows football very well, as he not only plays along the defensive line but also on the offensive line for Walnut Hills. He’s a versatile player with a lot of upside and a huge frame. His technique still needs work and he’ll need to learn the finer aspects of being a tackle specifically, but the sky is the limit with Briggs.
According to TriStateFootball.com, Briggs totaled 45 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six sacks, and two forced fumbles as a junior.
Tennessee has two defensive tackles currently committed in their 2019 class in three-star LeDarrius Cox and three-star JUCO tackle Darel Middleton. But with depth on the defensive line getting depleted over the next two years, expect Jeremy Pruitt and his staff to continue to look at tackles in this class.