Four-Star Athlete Includes Vols Among Finalists

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    (Photo via The Oconee Enterprise)

    One of the most intriguing two-way athletes in the 2020 class just released his list of finalists in his recruitment, and Tennessee was included in that grouping.

    Len’Neth Whitehead is a four-star linebacker/running back who plays for Athens Academy in Athens, Georgia. On the Fourth of July, he tweeted out his list of seven finalists in a graphic, and Tennessee made the cut along with Georgia, Texas A&M, Texas, South Carolina, Wisconsin, and Georgia Tech.

    The 6-foot-1, 230-pound athlete is rated by 247Sports as the No. 81 overall prospect and No. 6 inside linebacker in the 2020 class. Their composite rankings list him as the No. 218 overall recruit and No. 8 inside linebacker.

    Whitehead just finished participating in Nike’s The Opening Finals this week, where he worked out pretty much exclusively as a linebacker. He plays both running back and linebacker for Athens Academy, but it’s starting to look like he’ll be a linebacker at the next level.

    Tennessee’s coaches extended an offer to Whitehead back on May 21st of 2018, and he took a visit to UT’s campus for a Junior Day event on March 2nd of this year. He’s also taken an unofficial visit to Georgia Tech and Georgia this year.

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    At the regional camp to qualify for The Opening Finals, Whitehead ran a 4.80-second 40-yard dash and a 4.50-second shuttle. He also recorded a solid 38.8-inch vertical leap and had a 41-foot power ball toss.

    Along with football, Whitehead participates in track and field in high school, and he’s an elite shot put athlete. He earned an invitation to the Junior Olympics last fall with his 67′ 3.5″ shot put.

    On the football field, Whitehead is explosive on both sides of the ball. He shows great awareness and pursuit on defense, and he’s a vicious tackler. He has good speed for an inside linebacker, and he can run down a lot of running backs and make them look slow by comparison. On offense, Whitehead is a powerful runner who has better speed than you’d expect. He’s not a burner, but he’s quicker than his huge frame would lead you to believe. I would like to see some more pass coverage work from him on defense, but he has good athleticism and enough raw potential to mold and work with that any defensive coach would be happy to have him.

    As a junior last season, Whitehead ran for 1,443 yards and 25 touchdowns on offense while totaling 46 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and an interception. He was voted the Player of the Year by OnlineAthens.com, and he helped the Spartans advance to the state finals for the second-straight season.

    Tennessee has one running back committed to them in their 2020 class, but they currently have zero linebackers committed in this cycle. Three-star Maryville running back Tee Hodge is the Vols’ lone RB commit right now.

    Our Take:

    The Vols are in a good spot with Whitehead at the moment, but where he takes his official visits will be key. It looks like he’ll be committing sometime in September, so his decision is still a ways off. Tennessee and Georgia seem to be the favorites right now, but South Carolina is positioned well, too. Georgia Tech is a wildcard in his recruitment. It helps that Tennessee is pitching Whitehead the opportunity to pick between running back and linebacker, and relationships with coaches are very important to Whitehead. Luckily for UT, he has good relationships with their coaches.



    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.