Vols are Finalists for 4-Star DE Announcing Decision on Friday

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    (Photo via 247Sports)

    Coming off his official visit to Knoxville last week, four-star defensive end Blayne Toll is ready to make a decision.

    Toll announced on his Twitter account on Thursday morning that he would be making his college commitment public at 12 Central/1:00 PM Eastern on Friday. Toll included the Vols as one of his three finalists along with Arkansas and Oklahoma, indicated by emojis in his tweet.

    According to 247Sports, the multi-sport athlete from Hazen, Arkansas is the No. 332 overall player and No. 18 strong-side defensive end in the 2020 class. The regular 247Sports rankings list him as the No. 2 player in the state of Arkansas while the composite ratings have him as the No. 1 player in the state.

    Along with his offers from the Vols, Oklahoma, and Arkansas, Toll also holds offers from Auburn, LSU, Nebraska, Ole Miss, TCU, West Virginia, and others.

    Toll took an official visit to Knoxville starting on June 21st of last week, and that was a week after his official visit to Arkansas. Tennessee offensive coordinator Jim Chaney also visited Toll back on May 7th of this year. Toll unofficially visited Oklahoma on April 11th, and the Sooners extended an offer to him that same day.

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    Versatility is key in today’s world of college football, and Toll certainly fits that description.

    The 6-foot-5, 244-pound athlete plays quarterback, tight end, and defensive end for Hazen, and he’s excelled at all three in his time in high school. Though his junior stats aren’t available for this past season, he had a breakout year as a sophomore, totaling 42 tackles, 24 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and three forced fumbles as a defensive end and also had 715 passing yards and eight touchdowns to go along with 465 rushing yards and six scores.

    Not only that, but Toll plays baseball for Hazen as well, and he’s no slouch there either.

    In football, though, Toll plays with exceptional physicality on both sides of the ball. He’s not afraid to lower his shoulder on offense and truck players, but he can also dodge and evade tacklers better than you might imagine. On defense, he can split double teams and uses his natural strength to get by blockers. He’s still a little raw from a technique perspective, but there’s a lot of potential there. His toughness and raw athleticism help him out in many areas.

    Toll has put up some impressive numbers in testing. At a regional camp for Nike’s The Opening back in March, Toll ran the 40-yard dash in 4.88 seconds and had a 31-inch vertical leap. He also had one of the top powerball tosses of the over 250 participants tested.

    Tennessee doesn’t currently have any players on their roster from the state of Arkansas, and the last players Tennessee pulled from Arkansas all came in the mid-to-late 2000s. Bret Smith, Ricardo Kemp, Roshaun Fellows, and James Turner all hailed from Arkansas. The most well-known Arkansas player for the Vols was running back Cedric Houston.

    Our Take:

    Barring a late surge from the Vols, the pick for Toll is likely Arkansas. His official visit to Knoxville this past weekend did a lot for Tennessee’s chances and did enough to likely give Toll pause, but it’s probably not enough to overcome the Razorbacks in this one. The Razorbacks have signed the top-rated player from within their own state borders in three of the last four recruiting cycles.