Javontez Spraggins wasn’t planning on committing on Friday, but once he got an offer from Tennessee, his whole day changed.
The 6-foot-3, 335-pound offensive lineman was on Tennessee’s campus for a camp, but he wasn’t even supposed to be participating in the drill that caught UT’s attention.
“It wasn’t really planned like that,” Spraggins told me shortly after his commitment. “It was a seven-on-seven. That’s normally seven guys on offense, seven guys on defense, zero linemen. But I got a chance to go and take some snaps, and I didn’t really think much of it, but hey, I just knew not to mess up a snap cause I wanted my team to win all their games (during the drills).
“I went out there, did what I was supposed to do, got the snaps in, and caught the eye of Coach Will (Friend) and Coach Pruitt.”
Spraggins typically has played at guard for East St. Louis over in Illinois, but his ability to get snaps off cleanly made him appeal to Tennessee’s coaches even more. Once he caught Friend’s and Pruitt’s attention, things escalated.
“So once I caught their eye, Coach Will pulled me aside for a private workout,” Spraggins explained. “He worked me out for about 10-15 minutes while they were doing a little championship game. I worked out with him, showed him what I could do, and about 10 minutes later, he and Coach Pruitt offered me. Coach Martin did too, he gave me an offer too. They gave me an offer right then and there.”
Tennessee offensive line coach Will Friend, wide receivers coach Tee Martin, and head coach Jeremy Pruitt were all really impressed with what they saw from Spraggins. Enough so that they offered him on the spot after seeing him in person for the first time.
For Spraggins, the attention he got from UT’s coaches and the scholarship offer just built upon the strong feelings he had about Tennessee from the moment he arrived on campus.
“When I first got there, I was really amazed with the campus, really amazed with the facilities and everything,” Spraggins said. “That’s what really made me decide to take that step.”
The East St. Louis product has started to grab the attention of Power Five programs over the last couple weeks. After he performed exceptionally well and was named the “Alpha Dog” of the Lindenwood camp by 247Sports’ Allen Trieu, Spraggins’ stock began to soar.
Before that camp, Spraggins had just one offer, and it was from Indiana State. After that camp, he added over a dozen offers, including ones from Missouri, Illinois, Iowa State, and Wyoming.
Two weeks ago, Spraggins decided that he wasn’t going to let that one offer define him, and he set out to change his recruitment. Fast forward to now, and that’s already happened.
“I decided from that moment on that I wasn’t going to let an offer make me who I was,” Spraggins explained. “If anybody could describe me, I promise you this: In one word, they would describe me as ‘aggressive.’ I really want to do this with my life. I want to do this thing. I want to make it a reality.
“I’m doing whatever I can to better myself and better my family, so I know what steps I gotta take to get there.”
For Spraggins, committing to Tennessee was one of those steps.
According to him, UT’s coaches were so impressed by his performance at the camp that they asked him to commit shortly after offering him. There was no pressure to do so, but that desire made Spraggins feel wanted.
So shortly after Tennessee offered him, Spraggins decided to make that leap.
“They were amazed. They actually wanted me to commit,” Spraggins stated. “One of the coaches was talking to me and was like, ‘You gotta commit man, you’re amazing.’ After I got the offer, they took our team on a little tour, and it just added on to what I felt. So after that, maybe about five minutes before we were about to leave, I ran back up there with my coach and said, ‘Hey coach, I want to be a Volunteer.’ He said, ‘Are you ready? Are you fully committed?’ I said, “Yeah, coach, I’m ready to be a Volunteer.'”
Right now, Spraggins says he doesn’t have any other visits planned, but he plans on making a few official visits soon. With his recruitment really just starting to take off, there’s a good chance he’ll add some more offers.
But Tennessee need not worry. According to Spraggins’ commitment tweet on Friday, he’s “746 percent” committed to the Vols.
So what kind of player is Tennessee getting with Spraggins commitment? According to Spraggins himself, the Vols are adding a very physical lineman who loves to move and embraces contact.
“Definitely getting up to that level and pulling around for those backs and make creases for those guys,” Spraggins replied when asked what his biggest strength was. “That’s my best ability. I like to make contact. I do not shy away from contact. I like to use quick feet, get up to that next level off a double team. That’s the kind of guy I am.
“I’m going to make it happen with anything and any type of ability I have to get it done.”
While at UT’s camp on Friday, Spraggins’ teammate, four-star safety Antonio Johnson, also committed to the Vols. Johnson waited a few more hours after Spraggins’ announcement to make his own, but the pair of teammates are now both part of Tennessee’s 2020 class. If they sign with Tennessee, they’ll be the first pair of teammates to sign with the Vols since running back Jeremy Banks and offensive lineman Jerome Carvin signed with Tennessee out of Cordova High School in Cordova, TN in the 2018 class.
The Vols have a need for offensive linemen in their 2020 class, and Spraggins gives them their first commitment at that position in this cycle.