In-State Defensive Back Visits Tennessee

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    (Photo via Helen Comer/Daily News Journal)

    The crop of in-state recruits in the 2020 cycle is one of the deeper pools of talent the state of Tennessee has seen. And one of the top players from the state in the 2020 class made it in to Knoxville to pay a visit to the Vols on Sunday.

    De’Arre McDonald is a cornerback who plays for Oakland High School in Murfreesboro. Tennessee hosted a ton of recruits on Saturday, but McDonald came in a day later and took a visit to UT on Sunday according to his Twitter.

    Per the 247Sports Composite rankings, McDonald is the No. 448 overall player, No. 30 cornerback, and No. 14 player in the state of Tennessee. According to those rankings, he’s the No. 3 cornerback in the state of Tennessee, trailing only four-star Keshawn Lawrence of Ensworth and three-star Yukari Blanchard of East Nashville Magnet School.

    Right now, McDonald doesn’t have an official scholarship offer from Tennessee, but he does hold offers from Virginia Tech, Virginia, South Carolina, Louisville, Purdue, Western Kentucky, and Tulane.

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    The 6-foot-2, 175-pound defensive back helped Oakland to a 14-1 season and a state title in 2018. He was part of an Oakland defense that shut out three opponents in the playoffs, and they only allowed 17 total points in five playoff games. Oakland shut out Hendersonville, Maryville, and Whitehaven in the state playoffs, and their 37-0 win over Whitehaven was in the title game.

    Not only does McDonald play football for Oakland, but he’s one of their top players in basketball too.

    McDonald has a nose for the football, and his skills might actually make him better suited to play safety in college. He’s good in softer coverage and plays zone well, but he can press if asked. But McDonald does very well at reading plays from afar rather than reacting to the receiver, which would make him a better fit at safety in the long run. He has good speed and athleticism, and he uses his long arms to smack away passes or to intercept the ball. He’s a pretty good tackler as well.

    As a junior, McDonald totaled 38 tackles, four tackles for loss, six interceptions, seven passes defended, and two interception returns for touchdowns according to MaxPreps.

    It’ll be interesting to see if McDonald picks up an offer from the Vols on his visit to Knoxville or if he will sometime soon. He took a visit to Virginia Tech this weekend as well, and it looks like he’s starting to get more interest from more Power Five schools.

    Nathanael Rutherford
    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.