Safety doesn’t figure to be one of the Vols’ top priorities in the 2020 recruiting cycle, but they could probably do with adding at least one if they have the room, especially if they can land an elite talent at the position. And one of the top players at the position will be in town this weekend.
Four-star safety Brian Branch, who plays for Sandy Creek in Tyrone, Georgia, tweeted out on Friday that he’ll be in Knoxville this weekend to take in some spring practices on UT’s campus.
Tennessee this weekend ? #GoVol
— B Talk To Em ? (@BrianBB_1) March 8, 2019
The 6-foot, 183-pound safety is a top-100 overall prospect according to the regular 247Sports rankings and is the No. 5 safety in the 2020 class. The composite rankings have him listed as the No. 227 overall player and No. 17 safety in this class. He recently made a huge jump in 247Sports’ most recent rankings update, going from in the 400s to the No. 92 overall player in the regular 247Sports rankings. That also helped him rise nearly 200 spots in the composite rankings.
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Right now, Branch already holds offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, Ohio State, Michigan, Florida, and Florida State among others. He’s already taken an official visit to Oklahoma and has attended Junior Days at Georgia Tech and Alabama. Branch was at a Junior Day event for the Vols back in January as well, so this weekend won’t be the first time he’s been on campus. He picked up an offer from UT on his last visit to Knoxville.
Branch is a very smart player, and he has a lot of good tools to go along with that intelligence. He has very good speed, especially for a safety, and he’s great at adjusting and reading the quarterback’s eyes. He’s a play-maker in all three phases of the game, and he’s someone that opposing quarterbacks must hate to face. Branch is a very dangerous returner on special teams and when he picks off passes. He’s a special teams weapon. He’s also pretty good as a receiver and runs clean routes for the most part. But his ceiling appears highest on defense, and he’s a very instinctual and sharp safety.
As a junior, Branch totaled 58 tackles, five interceptions, and six passes defended in nine recorded games on MaxPreps. He also caught 15 passes for 368 yards and three touchdowns and returned two kick-offs for scores.
Safety may not be the biggest need for the Vols in 2020, but someone like Branch is a definite take if he’s interested in your school. And the fact that he’s visiting for the second time in two months speaks volumes. The Vols will have a few other visitors in town this weekend, so Branch won’t be the only highly-rated prospect on campus.