Vols Among Top Teams for Four-Star Memphis Linebacker

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    (Photo via Terry Davis/Tri-State Defender)

    Linebacker figures to be a huge area of need for the Vols in the 2020 recruiting cycle, as they’ll be looking to add some much-needed depth and potential instant impact players to replace upper classmen. On Tuesday, Tennessee got some good news from one of their main targets at linebacker in the 2020 class.

    Martavius French, a four-star linebacker who plays over in Memphis, tweeted out his list of top eight schools on Tuesday afternoon. Tennessee made the cut along with a few other SEC schools.

    French is one of the top players in the state of Tennessee and is a composite four-star prospect. According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, French is the No. 286 overall player and No. 10 inside linebacker in the 2020 cycle. Those rankings also have him rated as the 11th-best player in the state of Tennessee.

    The 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker holds offers from all the teams in his top eight and has also drawn interest from other schools such as Clemson and Georgia.

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    French attended a camp held by UT back in June, and he picked up an offer from Tennessee’s coaches at that camp. He added offers from Oklahoma and Mississippi State in December after his junior season wrapped up. He’s taken unofficial visits to Vanderbilt, Ole Miss, and Arkansas since last summer as well.

    The talented linebacker plays for Whitehaven, one of the top high schools in the Memphis area. He’s teammates with fellow four-star and class of 2020 linebacker Bryson Eason, another big Tennessee target. Tennessee 2019 signee Melvin McBride played for Whitehaven this past season as well.

    When looking at French’s film, what stands out immediately about him is his burst and versatility. French is good at stopping the run and blitzing up the middle of the line, but he’s also effective in pass coverage. He does a good job when he has to drop back in coverage, and he can run sideline to sideline and doesn’t look slow doing so. French wraps up well on his tackles and can lay down some huge hits. He can play multiple linebacker spots, and he may even be able to play safety at the next level with the type of size and speed he has to go along with his good pass coverage skills.

    As a junior this past season, French totaled 67 tackles, seven tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, a forced fumble, and a fumble recovery in nine games according to MaxPreps. He was part of a defense that only gave up 17.9 points per game and had four shutouts this past season.

    Tennessee will be looking to try and get both French and Eason in their 2020 class if possible, and they’ll likely try to add three or four total linebackers in the 2020 cycle. Expect French to take a few more visits to Knoxville over the next year.

    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.