Vols in Top Three for In-State Defensive Lineman

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    (Photo via @BIGE91234 on Twitter)

    As the 2019 high school football season nears, many recruits are nearing the end of their recruitment in order to fully focus on their senior season. Now is when many teams get a feel for what prospects they are serious contenders for. One Nashville lineman announced his top three schools on Saturday, and the Vols are listed as one of his favorites.

    Elijah Simmons, a huge defensive tackle from Pearl Cohn High School in Nashville, tweeted a graphic announcing his top three schools. The Vols found themselves alongside Memphis and Missouri as the finalists for his services. He also added that his announcement is “coming soon.”

    Simmons is a composite three-star prospect per 247Sports. He is the No. 715 player, 47th-rated defensive tackle, and the 22nd-best player in the state of Tennessee per the composite rankings.

    The 6-foot-1, 344-pound tackle earned an offer from the Vols after attending a camp on UT’s campus last month. He holds offers from a little over a half dozen schools as well, though Memphis and Missouri are his only other FBS offers.

    He lined up on both sides of the ball at the prospect camp, but for the time being, the staff prefers him as a defender. And with his size, he should fit perfectly as a nose tackle in Tennessee’s 3-4 defense.

    Simmons is a Memphis native and moved to Nashville when he was younger. His childhood in Memphis is a large reason why he has interest in the Tigers. He has visited their campus several times, but he has yet to travel to Missouri.

    Not only is Simmons huge and insanely strong, but he is one of the top track athletes in Tennessee in shot-put and discus, having just won state.

    Pruitt and his staff may have stumbled upon a sleeping giant in Simmons, as he is a much better player than his ranking would indicate, and he absolutely dominated UT’s camp last month.

    Simmons is surprisingly light on his feet given his size. He maneuvers the line of scrimmage very fluidly and he’s dominant at the point of attack. Simmons is a violent player and finishes every play through the echo of the whistle. He has a nastiness to him that coaches love to see. He does, however, need to lower his pad level substantially, as well as adjust his stance. He is still a very raw player, but with a few years of good coaching, he could become a very good football player.

    This one likely comes down to Memphis and Tennessee. The sole crystal ball prediction on 247sports sees the Vols as the favorite. The Volunteers have received criticism this cycle for an underwhelming performance recruiting the state of Tennessee. They can’t afford to lose Elijah Simmons as well. Simmons is likely to commit soon, and has hinted at July 26th, his birthday, as a potential date for him to announce.

    Tennessee currently has two defensive tackles committed in their 2019 class, but none of them have the size as Simmons. Three-star LeDarrius Cox and three-star JUCO tackle Darel Middleton are the Vols’ current defensive tackle commits in this cycle.