Recruiting Analyst: Vols have the “Edge” with Elite QB

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    (Photo via Mark Martin/ETSN.fm)

    Tennessee already has one highly-rated quarterback committed to them in their 2020 recruiting class. But the Vols have picked up a lot of traction with another elite QB in the 2020 cycle as of late, and a national recruiting analyst believes that Tennessee is the current leader to land a second high profile quarterback this cycle.

    Haynes King is a high-level quarterback who plays for Longview High School in Longview, Texas. He’s rated by 247Sports as the No. 32 overall player and No. 2 dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 cycle. King is getting ready to take official visits to some schools, and the Vols will be getting one of his visits. King is visiting Texas A&M this weekend and plans on coming to Knoxville on June 7th.

    According to 247Sports Director of Recruiting Steve Wiltfong, the Vols are currently ahead of the Aggies and a couple other schools in King’s recruitment.

    Wiltfong was a guest on the 247Sports Recruiting Podcast this week, and he was asked about King heading into his visits over the next couple weeks. The national analyst said that, in his opinion, Tennessee has “the edge” with King before he takes any of his official visits.

    “My take on Haynes King- this is a low confidence one based on the intel. I think Tennessee has the edge going into these visits,” Wiltfong stated. “I think he sees an opportunity to [sic] in there and maybe make an instant impact. Tennessee has Jarrett Guarantano on the roster, (JT) Shrout and then (Brian) Maurer. Like you said, they’re bringing in Harrison Bailey. It’s a major need for Tennessee to get that room right and get a guy that can play championship football at the position.

    “I think that he’s already taken one visit there and [sic] is going back shows the level of interest that Haynes King has in Tennessee.”

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    King has, in fact, visited Tennessee before. The highly-rated quarterback came to Knoxville on an unofficial visit on March 11th, just about two months after he received an offer from the Vols.

    When Jim Chaney was hired as Tennessee’s offensive coordinator, King was the first quarterback that UT ended up extending an offer to in the 2020 cycle. The Vols already had Harrison Bailey committed to them in their class, but Tennessee was looking around to potentially add a second QB in their class. At the time Tennessee offered him, King was flying somewhat under the radar. He was ranked in the 500s in overall ranking according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and the regular 247Sports rankings had him just outside the top-300 overall players.

    Now, King is thought to be one of the top overall quarterbacks in the 2020 class, and his recruitment exploded after UT offered him.

    After Tennessee gave the 6-foot-2, 185-pound dual-threat quarterback an offer on January 8th, he picked up offers from LSU, Miami, Oregon, Texas A&M, Purdue, Duke, and UCLA among a few other schools in the following months.

    Right now, the Vols are in a good spot, but the Aggies are coming on strong. King also likes Duke, Auburn, and Arkansas, and those three schools could be getting official visits from him as well. He’s already unofficially visited Auburn and Arkansas twice in his recruitment.

    Still, even with those other teams in pursuit, Wiltfong likes Tennessee’s chances.

    “I like Tennessee going into June for Haynes King, who may give those California guys (DJ Uiagalelei and Bryce Young) a run for their money as the number one quarterback in the country when all is said and done,” Wiltfong added. “He fits the profile- state champ, threw for 4,000 yards, only 4 interceptions, over 600 yards rushing, champion in discus, also runs the 400 meters, fast as hell, varsity basketball player. He’s got a lot going on.”

    King is a multi-sport athlete for Longview, and he excels the most on the football field. According to MaxPreps, King threw for 3,879 yards, 42 touchdowns, and just four interceptions while completing 69.2 percent of his 266 pass attempts. He also ran for 664 yards and eight scores on just 77 carries. He led Longview to an undefeated season and a state title, and he has a career record as a starting QB of 26-1.

    Not only is King a stat machine, but he tests well, too. At the Dallas regional for Nike’s The Opening, King was timed running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and posted nearly a 35-inch vertical. He also ran the shuttle in 4.08 seconds back in April of 2018, and he’s been timed running the 400-meters in 50.66 seconds. King has also been invited to the Elite 11 Finals, just like Harrison Bailey.

    Our Take:

    Even with Harrison Bailey already in the fold, Tennessee probably needs to add a second quarterback in the 2020 class. The Vols’ coaching staff has been up front with Bailey about their need to add a second signal-caller, so I wouldn’t assume that Bailey would decommit if Tennessee does end up with King’s commitment.

    Right now, my gut says that Tennessee gets King. That obviously can change after he takes his visits, but King and Jim Chaney seem to have a solid relationship, and any quarterback has to be intrigued by learning under Chaney given his track record.



    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.