Tennessee has already been looking at two linebackers at Whitehaven over in Memphis in the 2020 recruiting cycle. Now, the Vols have extended an offer to another Whitehaven linebacker in the current recruiting class.
Tennessee head coach Jeremy Pruitt was in attendance for Whitehaven’s match-up with Cordova on Friday night, and he was there to see a few Vol targets. Along with four-star linebacker and Arkansas commit Martavius French and four-star linebacker Bryson Eason, Pruitt was also there to see three-star linebacker and Mississippi State commit Tamarion McDonald in action.
Apparently Pruitt liked what he saw from McDonald, because he extended a scholarship offer to the Whitehaven linebacker after the game.
UT head coach at Whitehaven vs Cordova game pic.twitter.com/Ia7w1gijAT
— Terry Davis (@Terryd515) September 27, 2019
— TM3? (@tjdadonn) September 28, 2019
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, McDonald is the No. 567 overall prospect, No. 35 outside linebacker, and No. 20 recruit in the state of Tennessee in the 2020 cycle.
McDonald committed to Mississippi State back on May 25th, but he’s showed interest in Tennessee even after that commitment. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound athlete took an unofficial visit to UT’s campus on June 14th, less than a month after committing to the Bulldogs. He also has offers from LSU, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Memphis, and others.
Tennessee has made McDonald’s teammate, Bryson Eason, a priority in the 2020 class for a while, and they’ve maintained steady contact with his other teammate, Martavius French, too. Both French and McDonald are committed to other SEC schools, but Eason is currently not committed anywhere. The trio have talked about playing together in college, and now all three hold offers from UT.
On film, McDonald’s explosiveness off the snap immediately stands out. He has pretty good speed and shows off exceptional awareness. He’s a very smart player who often times makes the correct defensive read when playing the run. He can move laterally fairly well, and he’s a strong tackler. He’s a bit of a tweener right now, and it remains to be seen if he’ll play at linebacker or safety in college. He shows promise in pass coverage, but there isn’t a lot of that on his film to really get a good gauge of it.
So far this season for Whitehaven, McDonald has totaled 18 tackles, two sacks, two tackles for loss, and one fumble recovery. The athletic three-star prospect also plays on offense, and he’s caught five passes for 90 yards and two touchdowns.
Despite having a pretty big need for linebackers in the 2020 cycle, Tennessee still only has one projected linebacker committed to them in this class. Four-star Marietta prospect BJ Ojulari projects as an outside linebacker for the Vols, but he’s UT’s only linebacker commit at the moment. Three-star in-state athlete Darion Williamson could potentially play at outside linebacker as well.