One of the Vols’ highest-rated commitments in their 2019 recruiting class is junior college linebacker Lakia Henry. When he chose the Vols over offers from Alabama, Miami, Texas, South Carolina, and others back in May, it was another big boost about three weeks after five-star offensive tackle Wanya Morris had committed to the Vols.
Henry is rated as the top JUCO linebacker according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he should be able to come in and contribute immediately as an inside linebacker for Tennessee next season as long as he ends up signing with the Vols.
Recently, 247Sports updated their 2019 junior college rankings, and Henry came in at No. 3 overall in their updated list. Clint Brewster, a recruiting analyst and evaluator for 247Sports, commented on some of the JUCO players in their updated rankings, and he had nothing but positive things to say about Tennessee’s top-rated JUCO commit, calling him “one of my personal favorites.”
“Henry fits the mold of new-age linebackers that every team wants,” Brewster writes. “He’s a ball magnet that can run and cover like a safety. Henry, the Tennessee commit, is highly instinctive and his speed to get to the ball-carrier is unmatched. As a smaller linebacker, he stays ahead of blocking schemes to not get engulfed by linemen in the running game. Henry really explodes through ball-carriers when he arrives to make contact. You can use him out in space to carry vertical receivers downfield as he’s very effective on passing downs.”
Tennessee will be losing Jonathan Kongbo and Dillon Bates to graduation after the 2018 season, and there’s a possibility someone like Daniel Bituli or Darrin Kirkland Jr. could leave early for the NFL Draft after this upcoming season as well. The Vols need depth and immediate contributors at inside linebacker in 2019, and Henry should be able to do just that.
And it’s apparent from Brewster’s comments that he thinks Henry could be an extremely effective defensive weapon for the Vols next season.
In his first year with Dodge City Community College, Henry racked up 110 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, an interception, and a pass breakup.
Fellow Tennessee JUCO commit and three-star defensive tackle Darel Middleton came in at No. 21 on 247Sports’ updated rankings. Four-star cornerback and Vol target Elijah Blades ranked No. 4 in the updated rankings, and Vol target and three-star defensive tackle Savion Williams came in at No. 16 on the list. Ole Miss wide receiver commit and Vol target JaVonta Payton was ranked No. 18 on the list.