Vols Land Commitment from Elite Four-Star QB

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    (Photo via Detroit Free Press/John Silas)

    Tennessee doesn’t even have an offensive coordinator on staff right now, but that didn’t stop them from picking up a big time quarterback commitment on Thursday afternoon.

    Harrison Bailey, one of the top quarterbacks in the 2020 recruiting cycle, announced on Thursday that he intends to play for Tennessee when he enrolls in college. Bailey chose the Vols over his other finalist, Michigan. He also has offers from Alabama, Georgia, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and most other top programs around the country.

    What does Bailey’s commitment mean for the Vols? We look at that and give more in-depth recruiting analysis over on RTI Premium!

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Bailey is the No. 59 overall player in the country and is the No. 3 pro-style quarterback in the 2020 cycle. There’s been talk of Bailey potentially re-classifying to the 2019 class at the end of this academic calendar, but Bailey himself put that talk to rest on Thursday shortly before he made his announcement:

    The Vols already have one of Bailey’s teammates committed to them in their 2019 class. Four-star wide receiver Ramel Keyton has been committed to Tennessee since May of this year, and the Vols are pursuing another one of Bailey’s teammates in the 2020 cycle as well. Five-star athlete Arik Gilbert also plays for Marietta High School in Marietta, Georgia.

    When Bailey was only 14 — that’s right, just 14 years old — he caught the eye of Cam Newton at a 7-on-7 tournament hosted by Newton’s foundation. Newton was wowed by Bailey’s performance at the camp and couldn’t believe that an eighth grader, which Bailey was at the time, was hanging with guys like five-star Jake Fromm and five-star Davis Mills.

    The 6-foot-4, 217-pound quarterback has been a phenom on the field for a while, and he’s blossomed into one of the top quarterbacks in the country in high school.

    Bailey’s highlight film is just fun to watch. He makes difficult throws look easy, and he can make a number of passes all across the field. He can throw accurately on the run, and he throws a beautiful deep ball. He doesn’t tuck it and run a great deal, but he’s mobile enough to pick up some yards when he needs to. Bailey has really good pocket awareness and has a good feel for when and where the pressure is coming from. He plays like someone who is older than he is.

    During his junior season this year, Bailey completed 63.3 percent of his 335 pass attempts for 2,809 yards, 29 touchdowns, and just six interceptions, and he added four rushing scores as well according to MaxPreps. Bailey’s interception percentage as a junior was just 1.79 percent. For comparison, Jarrett Guarantano’s interception percentage this season for Tennessee was 1.22 percent on nearly 100 fewer pass attempts, and Bailey threw for 17 more touchdowns.

    Granted, those numbers are against high school defenses and not SEC defenses, but Bailey’s stats are still highly impressive and efficient.

    Bailey has worked with Tony Ballard, a noted quarterback trainer in the Atlanta area. Ballard has worked with current Vol quarterback Jarrett Guarantano in the past, and he’s worked with numerous other talented high school quarterbacks as well. Bailey’s hands already measure in at 11 inches. For comparison, the aforementioned Cam Newton’s hands have measured in at 9 7/8 inches.

    Tennessee now has four players committed to them in their 2020 recruiting class. Bailey joins three-star wide receiver Antonio Barber, JUCO defensive lineman Jordan Davis, and long snapper Will Albright in UT’s 2020 class.