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We answer your best questions about Tennessee athletics and anything else in our weekly mailbag, Insider Mailing.
“Any chance we land another QB for the 2019 class or is Maurer gonna be the only one? And if so how good can Maurer be?” – @htcook1999
Nathanael: I do think the Vols add a second quarterback in this class, and I detailed that in this week’s RTI Podcast. I think they have to in case one of the quarterbacks transfers prior to the 2019 season. But I do think Maurer can be a solid quarterback and has the potential to have a high ceiling. But he’ll need to improve his mechanics.
Will: I think it’s likely. Maurer may be a quick riser up the recruiting rankings this fall. He’s an Elite 11 quarterback despite having a 3-star ranking that isn’t all that impressive. He’ll need to put on some weight, but the mechanics and athleticism is there. You can never have too many quarterbacks, though.
“Status of 2018 commits JJ Peterson and Brant Lawless?” – Kenny
Nathanael: Right now, it’s still the same as was reported earlier this month. Peterson is still expected to enroll in July and Lawless still isn’t expected to join till August if he joins at all.
“What’s the status of the last scholarship opening for Vol Hoops?” – @neylandmafia
Nathanael: It doesn’t look like they’re going to use it for this upcoming season and will, instead, save it for the 2019 class. Which I think is the right move. There are a lot of really talented players the Vols are in on in the 2019 cycle, and I think it makes sense to keep that extra scholarship for one of those guys rather than just taking a guy to take a guy in the 2018 class.
Will: It’s an interesting choice to save it. That makes it really important to secure a point guard in next year’s class so you’re not starting a first-year player at that position once Jordan Bone graduates.
“Who is going to be the step up and make a difference player in the 2019 class? As far as recruits we have committed right now.” – Benny
Nathanael: Wanya Morris for sure should make an impact as a true freshman in 2019. He’s a five-star offensive tackle and could start immediately as a freshman. Ramel Keyton, the four-star receiver committed to the Vols, could have a strong freshman year too. And JUCO linebacker Laika Henry should find a way to start at one of the inside linebacker spots.
Will: I like Ramel Keyton a lot. I agree that he could be a difference maker right away. Tight end Jackson Lowe could be a guy who sees the field in a two tight-end system as a freshman. Hard-hitting safety Aaron Beasley has the intangibles of a killer special teams defender as a freshman. The big fish are still out there for Pruitt and company in this class. Lots of these guys he already has committed will be more projects than a Quavaris Couch at running back.
“How does Coach Pruitt let Lance Wilhoite leave the state?” – @oleg_zeltser
Nathanael: Because he and his staff didn’t like his style. Not that he’s a bad player, but he doesn’t fit what Tyson Helton and David Johnson want on offense. They want bigger receivers who love to block and be physical. Wilhoite is more of a finesse guy. He would’ve been a perfect fit in UT’s old system, but he fits better with Oregon. He’s a good receiver, but he just doesn’t fit this system.
Will: To be fair, there wasn’t a single SEC team in his final four. Sometimes guys just don’t like the idea of staying close to home. This is another example of Jeremy Pruitt not chasing in-state guys just so he can stand in front of a podium on signing day and brag about keeping decent players in-state. That was a Butch Jones thing. Pruitt doesn’t care. He’s more focused on the best players for his system no matter where they come from. And he won’t try to make something work just because a player is from the state of Tennessee.
“What’s the latest on Trey Smith’s injury? Will he be 100% for WVa?” – @tjvol49
Nathanael: As of right now, it looks like he should be good to go for fall camp. That’s what Jeremy Pruitt has indicated, and I’ve not heard anything to the contrary.
Will: No news is probably good news. And there haven’t been any major developments.