Tennessee had a strong start to the early signing period, and it just got stronger (both literally and figuratively) on Wednesday afternoon.
Four-star pass rusher Morven Joseph announced that he will be playing for the Vols on Wednesday afternoon, picking Tennessee over Florida and Florida State. Joseph plays for Lake Gibson High School in Lakeland, Florida and had been committed to the Gators and Seminoles at two different points in his recruitment.
Now, he’ll officially be a Vol.
According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6-foot-3, 220-pound pass rusher is the No. 352 overall prospect and No. 18 weak-side defensive end in the 2020 class. He took an official visit to Tennessee’s campus during the Vols’ regular season finale against Vanderbilt on November 30th, but an official visit to Florida the following week and a surprising visit to Florida State on December 14th clouded the waters.
In the end, though, Joseph picked Tennessee over the two in-state programs.
Joseph committed to Florida on February 15th, and Tennessee ended up offering him on April 30th. Joseph camped at UT on June 14th and then took an unofficial visit to FSU that next week. On July 5th, he decommitted from the Gators.
Just over three weeks later, Joseph committed to Florida State. But once a coaching change was made with the Seminoles and Joseph visited both UT and Florida again, he announced his decommitment from FSU on December 6th.
Tennessee was in desperate need of a true pass rusher in their 2020 class after the flip of four-star outside linebacker BJ Ojulari to LSU last month and with other pass rushing targets committing elsewhere. Joseph gives the Vols a talented option off the edge now.
The versatile and explosive defender can play both with his hand in the dirt as a down lineman or standing up as an outside linebacker. Joseph has great explosiveness off the edge, and the speed at which he closes on quarterbacks and running backs is elite. He’s exceptionally athletic, but he’s more than just a muscled body; Joseph has good instincts and is actually fairly capable in pass coverage as well. When he gets his hands on a defender, they rarely escape, and he has long arms to go along with his overall speed and athleticism.
As a senior for Lake Gibson, Joseph amassed an eye-popping 115 tackles, 28 tackles for loss, 13 sacks, 44 quarterback hurries, a forced fumble, and two passes defended according to MaxPreps. Joseph also scored a rushing touchdown on offense.
Joseph is the fifth player to commit to the Vols on Wednesday who wasn’t already committed to UT prior to the start of the early signing period. He joins four-star defensive end Tyler Baron, four-star running back/linebacker Len’Neth Whitehead, three-star athlete/quarterback Jimmy Holiday, and three-star defensive tackle Reginald Perry.