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Trio of In-State Defenders to Officially Visit Vols

(Photo via Terry Davis/Tri-State Defender)

This weekend is an important one for Tennessee’s football program in two different ways. The Vols have a huge match-up with No. 3 Georgia on the field, and they have a lot of recruits set to visit before, during, and after the game on official and unofficial visits. Three of those visitors this weekend will be all from the same school over in Memphis.

Tamarion McDonald, a three-star defender who plays for Whitehaven High School in Memphis, picked up an offer from the Vols on Friday night. Two of his teammates, four-star linebackers Bryson Eason and Martavius French, already had offers from Tennessee. Now, all three players hold offers from UT, and all three are being targeted by Tennessee’s coaches in the 2020 cycle.

“They called me after the game (and gave an offer),” McDonald told me in a recent interview. “Friday, earlier in the day, they came by the school and was telling me they were gonna watch me at the game and how they want all three of us.”

Now, all three will be taking official visits to see Tennessee this weekend.

McDonald told me late Tuesday night that he, Eason, and French will all be taking official visits to see UT’s campus this weekend when the Vols host No. 3 Georgia. This visit will mark the first time since June that McDonald has been to campus.

According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, French is the No. 330 overall prospect and No. 10 player in the state of Tennessee, Eason is the No. 344 overall prospect and No. 11 player in the state, and McDonald is the No. 568 overall recruit and No. 20 in-state prospect.

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McDonald, who committed to Mississippi State back in May, says he, French, and Eason have all talked about playing in college together for quite a while. “We still do to this day,” he told me. But there are only a select few schools that have offered the Whitehaven trio, and the Vols are now one of them as of this weekend.

Mississippi State, Ole Miss, LSU, Georgia Tech, and now Tennessee are the only schools to offer all three of the talented defenders from Whitehaven. McDonald is already committed to the Bulldogs of Mississippi State, and French committed to Arkansas back in July. Eason is the only one of the three who has yet to commit to a school.

The three Whitehaven defenders have known each other since they were little. McDonald told me that the three of them started playing Little League together when they were six, and they’ve been friends ever since.

Time will tell if all three end up playing football together in college, but they have that opportunity at Tennessee now.

For now, all three will take an official visit together to Tennessee’s campus this weekend and will see if UT is the kind of fit they want.

All three Whitehaven defenders have been on UT’s radar for a while, and both French and Eason had been getting attention from SEC schools for quite some time. McDonald flashed a lot of potential as a junior last season, and thanks to a strong start to his senior year, has picked up even more interest.

Eason and French are behemoths in the linebacking corps. French measures in at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, and Eason is 6-foot-2, 250 pounds. McDonald is slimmer, but what he lacks in the size Eason and French bring he makes up for in versatility. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound defender plays both linebacker and safety, and he’s being looked at by Tennessee and other schools as a nickelback in college.

Tennessee will be hosting several other recruits this weekend, including five-star tight end/wide receiver Arik Gilbert from Marietta, Georgia and elite in-state quarterback Ty Simpson from the 2022 class.

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