Tennessee already had the majority of their 2019 class sign in the December early signing period, but they still have several spots left to fill. The Vols will be trying to add at least one more linebacker to their class between now and signing day in February. Right now, they have four-star JUCO linebacker Lakia Henry committed, and they are right in the thick of things for four-star linebacker Henry To’oto’o and in-state linebacker Christopher Russell. Thursday, the Vols offered another linebacker in the 2019 cycle.
Eugene Asante, a three-star outside linebacker out of Virginia, tweeted Thursday afternoon that he is “grateful to receive an offer from Tennessee.”
— Eugene Asante (@sectorocho) January 3, 2019
Per 247Sports, the composite three-star prospect is ranked as the No. 1351 overall player in the nation. Asante is also the 31st-ranked player in Virginia and the 101st-ranked outside linebacker.
Despite his lower rankings, he holds a solid offer list. Maryland, Virginia Tech, Miami, Nebraska, and TCU are just some of the schools that have extended a scholarship. And he’s picked up a lot of attention lately, adding offers from Miami, Baylor, Nebraska, and UCLA all in the past month to go along with his Tennessee offer.
Asante is from Chantilly, Virginia and plays for Westfield High School. He also ran track in high school, competing in the 100 meter. Westfield is one of the best teams in the state of Virginia, and Asante won several state championships in his career.
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The 6-foot-1, 212-pound pass rusher is the younger brother of former NFL player Larry Asante. Larry played at Nebraska, so that could potentially impact Eugene’s recruitment.
Offering Asante likely signals the Vols are looking for a potential safety net, as they may not feel as comfortable about some of the options listed earlier in the article. They could also just really like Asante’s film and are jumping on board by offering him like a lot of other schools.
He may not have the star power of a lot of guys out there, but make no mistake: Asante is an SEC-caliber player. He possess good size and strength, but he has track speed. That combination of strength and speed oozes potential as a pass rushing outside linebacker. He takes great pursuit angles and has a very high motor. He has one of the quickest first steps of any prospect in the country. He defeats blocks with ease and is a very good tackler. Rarely do you seem him attempting to arm tackle the ball carrier. Asante almost always gets his helmet and shoulders in the right place to make the tackle. He has a really high football IQ and always seems to be in the right place at the right time. When he does make the tackle, he brings some power. Asante hits hard.
Asante spent most of his high school career playing running back, and he only really started playing linebacker as a senior. It’s apparent that he has skill there, though, as he won Defensive Player of the Year for his region and was named to the first-team USA Today ALL-USA Virginia Football Team.
There is no way there are 100 players better than Asante, let alone 1,000. Tennessee has found an absolute gem. He may be better than some of Tennessee’s first options at linebacker, in my opinion. He is one of the best prospects in the country from what I’ve seen, and if the Vols can sign him, they will have the steal of the 2019 singing class.