On Friday, Tennessee added a big-time commitment from four-star outside linebacker BJ Ojulari. On Wednesday, the Vols’ defense picked up another future player.
Mordecai McDaniel, a blazing fast safety who plays for St. John’s College High School in Washington D.C., announced his commitment to the Vols on Twitter on Wednesday. McDaniel chose Tennessee over Penn State, Florida, Georgia, and Notre Dame, and he also holds offers from Alabama, Oklahoma, LSU, Michigan, Wisconsin, and others.
— Mordecai McDaniel (@HunnitBandCai) August 21, 2019
The 6-foot-1, 195-pound safety is rated as the No. 385 overall prospect and No. 32 safety in the 2020 class according to 247Sports. He’s the 410th overall recruit in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
McDaniel took an official visit to Knoxville back on June 7th, and that was followed by an official trip to Penn State on June 21st. He also took official visits to Notre Dame and Florida in April. The Vols offered him back on January 18th, weeks before other SEC schools like Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Ole Miss did.
Not only is McDaniel a good player in his own respects, but he’s teammates with one of the Vols’ top remaining targets in the 2020 class, too. McDaniel plays with five-star wide receiver Rakim Jarrett at St. John’s College High School. Jarrett is currently committed to LSU, but Tennessee is considered the favorite to flip him at this time.
Landing McDaniel in the 2020 class likely only helps the Vols’ chances with Jarrett.
Tennessee has had McDaniel high on their recruiting board for a while. UT’s coaches view him as a dynamic athlete who can make a difference in the defensive backfield, and his speed is a huge appeal. He’s a stellar track athlete and was timed running the 55-meter in track in 6.54 seconds in the 2019 indoor competition. That’s roughly 60 yards on the football field, and that translates to about a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. He also ran the 200 meter in 21.99 seconds.
On the football field, McDaniel uses that speed well and flies around the field to make plays on both sides of the ball.
McDaniel plays multiple positions in high school. As a wide receiver, he creates easy separation between any defender and has very good hands. McDaniel is very good at adjusting to the deep ball, often catching it in stride for a score. He is an electric kick returner and always appears one cut away from hitting the home run ball and returning one for a touchdown. As a defensive back, he is a sideline-to-sideline player who is able to cover the whole field with his speed. He’s very keen on recognizing the play and using his speed to close in for the tackle, often tackling his opponents with brutal force. McDaniel plays with a mean streak.
With McDaniel’s commitment, the Vols now have 15 prospects committed to them in their 2020 class, and four of them are projected defensive backs with two others possibly being able to play in the secondary at UT. McDaniel joins four-star defensive back Keshawn Lawrence, four-star JUCO cornerback Art Green, and three-star cornerback Lovie Jenkins as UT’s defensive back commits. Athletes Jimmy Calloway and Darion Williamson could also play in the defensive backfield in college.
McDaniel’s commitment gives Tennessee eight players ranked inside the top 500 overall prospects in the 247Sports Composite rankings.