Vols Among Favorites for Huge In-State Offensive Lineman

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    (Photo via Hudl.com)

    Jeremy Pruitt and the Vols have been hot on the recruiting trail as of late. The big cookout UT hosted this past weekend saw Tennessee grab two more commits, and it left a great impression on many athletes. They kept the momentum rolling Tuesday as they landed a commitment from the nation’s top JUCO defensive tackle, and now they saw an in-state offensive lineman name the Vols as one of his favorites.

    Melvin McBride, a guard from Memphis, announced his top five schools Tuesday afternoon via Twitter. And Tennessee was among those schools.

    Louisville, Arkansas, Indiana and Memphis are the other schools that make up his top five. He was one of the many prospects the Vols hosted at the cookout this past weekend.

    McBride plays for Whitehaven High School, one of the best teams in the state of Tennessee. He is currently rated as a three-star by the 247Sports Composite rankings, and is the 750th-ranked player in the nation, the No. 32 guard in the country, and the No. 24 prospect in the state in the 2019 class. The regular 247Sports rankings think higher of him, putting him almost in the four-star category. Those rankings have him listed as the No. 363 overall player, No. 20 guard, and the 10th-best player in the state.

    He is a very raw prospect, as he has only been playing football for a year. But that means his playing style is less permanent, leaving a lot of room for him to be molded by his college coaching staff. Many head coaches find that intriguing. And he already has great size at 6-foot-4, 315 pounds.

    McBride is a very strong lineman, and he knows how to use his body for power. He does a good job getting his feet in the ground and his hands inside to drive opponents. His footwork in pass blocking is also impressive. He blocks through the whistle and absolutely finishes the block every time. He starts to run into trouble when it comes to the details of his technique, however. He doesn’t fire off the ball well, but instead often times catches the defender, then begins to drive him. He also has a tendency to poke his elbows out when he blocks, which can cause him to turn with guys rather than drive them straight back. This can also lead to more holding calls against him. His pad level is entirely too high, and sometimes he gets too top heavy instead of keeping an athletic base under himself, which can cause him to struggle with control blocking in space. However, for a guy with just one year of football experience, he is an excellent offensive lineman, and his shortcomings are things that can be fixed with time and coaching.

    Tennessee currently has commitments from three offensive linemen in their 2019 class. Five-star Wanya Morris, four-star Jackson Lampley, and three-star Chris Akporoghene have all committed to the Vols in this cycle, and Tennessee will likely be looking to add one or two more linemen in this cycle.

    Louisville is currently seen as the favorite to land his services, but with the Vols’ focus on offensive lineman in the 2019 class, expect them to heavily pursue the Memphis big man. With a little bit of time and a coaching staff with the skill level of the one at Tennessee, Melvin McBride can become quite the football player.