RTI recruiting contributor Charley Collier contributed to this article
Tennessee already has a handful of talented offensive linemen committed to them in their 2019 recruiting class, but you can never have too many offensive linemen in the SEC. And one of the top linemen in the state of Tennessee has the Vols as one of his finalists.
Melvin McBride is a 6-foot-2, 300-pound offensive lineman from Memphis. On Monday night, he tweeted out a list of his five finalists, and the Vols were included on his list. He also said he plans on announcing his commitment next week, though he didn’t specify a date or time yet.
I WILL BE ANNOUNCING MY COMMITMENT NEXT WEEK❗️❗️
— Melvin McBride📌 (@mjmballin) August 21, 2018
McBride plays for Whitehaven High School, one of the best teams in the state of Tennessee. He recently took a big jump in the recruiting rankings on 247Sports. At the beginning of this month, the 247Sports Composite rankings had him listed as just the 750th overall player in the 2019 class. But now the big man from Memphis is the No. 431 overall player, 15th-ranked guard, and No. 17 player in the state of Tennessee according to those same rankings.
Tennessee’s coaching staff extended an offer to McBride back in mid-July after he put on an impressive performance at a camp UT’s coaches hosted on campus. He has offers from all five of the teams he included as finalists, and he also holds offers from Florida, South Carolina, Cincinnati, Purdue, and others.
McBride 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 as well.
The huge Memphis offensive lineman is a very strong player, 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.
Right now, it’s anybody’s guess as to which school McBride is favoring. Arkansas might be the leaders right now, but Louisville and hometown team Memphis are viable threats. Tennessee may not have the room to take McBride’s commitment right now, but he’s definitely high on the Vols.
Tennessee currently has three offensive linemen committed to them in their 2019 class. Five-star Wanya Morris, four-star Jackson Lampley, and three-star Chris Akporoghene are Tennessee’s current offensive line pledges. The Vols will be looking to add at least one more lineman in this class, but with space at a premium right now, McBride might not be able to fit in despite UT’s staff liking what they’ve seen from him.