Almost two weeks ago, Tennessee got a visit from Phillip Webb, one of the top linebackers in the 2020 recruiting cycle. Now, the talented prospect from Georgia has included the Vols as one of his top teams.
Webb is a 6-foot-4, 210-pound linebacker who plays for Lanier down in Buford, Georgia. On Monday, he tweeted out his list of his top 11 schools moving forward, stating they are the schools he “would like to push my focus towards.” Tennessee was included along with Alabama, Clemson, Oklahoma, LSU, Notre Dame, Auburn, Texas A&M, Florida, Florida State, and Stanford.
Here are the schools I would like to push my focus towards…#AGTG pic.twitter.com/fHEG8HIvV0
— Phillip Webb? (@_PhillipWebb_) June 17, 2019
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Webb is the No. 40 overall prospect, No. 3 outside linebacker, and No. 6 player in the state of Georgia. He holds nearly four dozen scholarship offers, and his list of top 11 schools consists of some of the top teams in college football.
The Vols extended an offer to Webb back on October 5th of 2018, and he visited UT when they played Alabama on October 20th. Tennessee offered Webb before Clemson, Florida State, Notre Dame, Stanford, and Alabama did.
Webb most recently visited the Vols back on June 8th, about a week and a half ago. He visited Alabama a few days before that, and he’s also unofficially visited Florida, Florida State, and LSU so far this year.
Tennessee hasn’t had much luck in Buford, Georgia in the past, but they were able to land linebacker Austin Smith out of Buford in the 2015 recruiting class. Smith was a three-star outside linebacker for Buford High School, but he has since transferred off UT’s roster.
Webb is an athletic backer and a force on the edge. He excels as a speed rusher and consistently gets around tackles. His bend as a pass rusher is next level, and he knows how to finish when he gets to the quarterback. Webb is a very instinctual player. He is good in pass coverage and does a good job setting the edge on the run. He can close down space well and make tackles. With good coaching, he can be turned into a force as an every down outside linebacker.
As a junior for Lanier, Webb had a monster season. He totaled 86 tackles, 20 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks, 27 quarterback hurries, seven passes defended, four forced fumbles, a fumble he recovery for a touchdown, and three blocked punts in 14 games according to MaxPreps.
Tennessee has made the state of Georgia a huge priority under head coach Jeremy Pruitt, and getting Webb to visit this summer was important. Now the Vols will need to get him back on campus in the fall and continue to build that relationship with him.
In order for the Vols to really surge in Webb’s recruitment, they’re likely going to have to show improvement in 2019. And not just slight improvement; If Tennessee has hopes of landing Webb this recruiting cycle, they’ll likely need to take some big steps forward.
Pruitt and his staff have done a good job forging a relationship with Webb so far, but relationships can only take Tennessee so far for so long. This upcoming season will be important for UT’s hopes with Webb and other top prospects.