Tennessee continues to look for immediate help in the trenches as they head into the 2019 season, and UT’s coaches sent out an offer to another junior college defensive lineman late Tuesday night.
Everitt Cunningham is a JUCO defensive end who’s played for East Mississippi Community College the last two seasons. On late Tuesday night, he tweeted out that he had picked up an offer from Tennessee. The Vols are the third Power Five program to offer Cunningham, but they’re easily the most prominent of that group since the other two are Indiana and Rutgers. Cunningham also holds offers from UCF and Memphis.
Blessed to receive an offer from the University of Tennessee🍊🙌🏽❗️ pic.twitter.com/31UhIMORmR
— Everitt Cunningham (@EZC55) December 12, 2018
Right now, Cunningham isn’t rated by the 247Sports Composite rankings, but he’s a low three-star by the regular 247Sports rankings. Coming out of high school, Cunningham played for West Point High School in Mississippi.
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The 6-foot-3, 250-pound lineman played both as a hand-in-the-dirt lineman and a stand-up pass rusher for East Mississippi this past season, and he had a very successful second year in the JUCO ranks. He won multiple Defensive Player of the Week awards and totaled three sacks or more in three different games this season. He had four games in which he had three or more tackles for loss as well.
On film, Cunningham shows a knack for getting to the quarterback and not giving up till he gets into the backfield. He has good burst off the snap, and he can use a variety of moves to work his way past blockers. He can take on both tackles and guards, and he has some good speed moves to undermine a lineman’s leverage. He plays a little high at times, but his technique can be tightened. The raw potential is there, and he performs exceptionally well in games. He’s not rated very highly, but his film looks like a JUCO player who should be ranked much higher than what he is. He still has his faults, but overall he has some great potential and displays a solid football IQ and good footwork.
In his second season with East Mississippi, Cunningham totaled 57 tackles, 13 sacks, 20.5 tackles for loss, four forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, two pass break-ups, and a blocked kick according to the school’s website.
Tennessee currently has two JUCO defensive linemen committed to them in Savion Williams (the No. 1 JUCO defensive tackle) and three-star Darel Middleton. The Vols have been looking to add another JUCO lineman to their 2019 class, but so far they’ve not had much luck there. JUCO defensive end Niadre Zouzoua was someone UT was pursuing, but he just committed to Baylor earlier this week, and the No. 1 JUCO defensive end in the 2019 cycle, Nick Figueroa, seems to be trending away from Tennessee after they picked up some early momentum with him after they offered him.
Cunningham has already officially visited Indiana and plans to officially visit UCF this weekend. Tennessee will try and get him to visit if possible, but Cunningham was originally planning on signing during the early signing period.