Vols Offer Huge Four-Star Defensive End

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    (Photo via Andy Alfaro/Modesto Bee)

    There was a time about two decades ago when Tennessee had two defensive linemen on their roster that were about 6-foot-6 and 6-foot-7, respectively. Since then, the Vols haven’t had many mammothly tall players in the trenches, but Tennessee’s coaches just sent out an offer to a prospect who would fit in that category.

    Xavier Carlton is a four-star defensive end who spent the last few seasons in California before moving back to his home state of Utah last month. The 6-foot-7, 262-pound defensive end already has a ton of scholarship offers, and he added one from the Vols this past week.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Carlton is the No. 277 overall prospect and No. 13 strong-side defensive end in the 2020 cycle. He holds offers from every single Pac-12 school and also has offers from Oklahoma, LSU, Texas, Oregon, Michigan, and others. He played for Modesto Christian High School in Modesto, California but is now enrolled at Juan Diego Catholic in Draper, Utah.

    Carlton’s father played for the Utah Utes, and both his father and mother attended Utah. The Utes are one of the early standouts in Carlton’s recruitment, but he’s still very early in his recruiting process. His move from California to Utah has pushed back his timeline, and he won’t be making any official visits until the fall, likely until after his senior season concludes. He also won’t be attending camps over the summer.

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    In terms of his playing ability, Carlton has heaps of upside and is a natural talent thanks to his immense build.

    The 6-foot-7, 262-pound athlete plays on both defense and offense, but he projects more as a defensive lineman in college. In high school, Carlton uses his superior size to blow past linemen on the regular, and he’s a very vicious tackler. He has long arms and above average speed, and that’s a dangerous combination for opposing quarterbacks and running backs trying to escape his grasp. Carlton also uses his hands well, and he has better technique than a lot of high school defensive linemen. He’s just a force on defense and plays with very high intensity.

    As a junior last season, Carlton totaled 81 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 13 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, three fumble recoveries, and two passes defended according to MaxPreps. On offense, he caught 10 passes for 181 yards and three touchdowns.

    It doesn’t look like Carlton will be making any unofficial or official visits this summer, but that doesn’t stop coaches from coming and seeing him. Coaches from Cal, Utah, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, USC, and Stanford have all stopped by, and LSU is planning on visiting him as well.

    If the Vols become bigger players with him, expect to see Tennessee send out some coaches to Utah to pay Carlton a visit.