Vols in Contention for Talented Four-Star Defensive End

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    (Photo via @Broughto1Vernon on Twitter)

    Tennessee will look to add a few more defensive linemen in their 2020 recruiting class after missing out on a true game-changing defensive end in their 2019 class. And UT only added one high school senior along the defensive line last cycle because they needed some immediate contributors along the line. Because of that, Tennessee added two JUCO defensive tackles last class.

    In the 2020 class, expect the Vols to pursue more high school recruits along the line. They’re already in good positions with several in this new cycle, and one of those prospects just included Tennessee in his list of favorites.

    Four-star strong-side defensive end Vernon Broughton II out of Houston, Texas tweeted out his list of top schools recently, and he included the Vols among that group.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Broughton is the No. 211 overall player and No. 13 strong-side defensive end. He’s also listed as the No. 26 player in the talent-rich state of Texas. Tennessee just sent out an offer to Broughton in early January, and he added offers from Ohio State, Nebraska, and Arkansas after picking up his offer from the Vols.

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    Interestingly, the 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman is still somewhat new to football. He had focused most of his playing time on basketball until a few years ago, but he’s burst onto the scene in football and has caught the attention of some of the premier programs in college football.

    Broughton is a big man, but he moves like a skill player. He used to be much slimmer, but he has since put on a lot of weight. But that weight is mostly muscle, and he doesn’t have a lot of bad pounds on him. That weight gain didn’t hinder his athleticism either. According to his Twitter bio, he runs a 4.7-second 40-yard dash.

    Looking at his film, he uses his hands very well to control offensive lineman and get off blocks. Broughton has a quick first step and accelerates well when rushing the passer. He does a good job staying low and getting leverage. He is a sure tackler, and he can defend against the run well. With his frame, he could add on even more weight and move inside to play defensive tackle easily. He’ll be an interesting player to watch in terms of what position he could end up playing in college.

    Right now, Broughton hasn’t visited Tennessee, but that could easily change. I would imaging UT’s coaches would like to see him camp to see what kind of skills he has as a defensive lineman. He’s visited Texas A&M a couple times over the last few months already, and the Aggies are probably the early favorites in his recruitment.

    The Vols will need to add a few defensive linemen in the 2020 class, and Broughton figures to be one target to get a lot of attention by multiple schools.

    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.