Jeremy Pruitt Breaks Down Vols’ Early Signing Class

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    Offensive Signees

    (Photo via Johnny Walker/MDJOnline.com)

    Quarterbacks

    On the quarterback position:

    “When you talk about needs, I think offensively you’ve got to start at the quarterback position. We signed two guys in Harrison Bailey and Jimmy Holiday. Probably, the two guys couldn’t really be any more different when you look at them as football players.

    “One thing I figured out a long time ago, you better keep signing quarterbacks until you got one, because if you don’t have one, it’s going to be hard to win a game. So, we’ll have five really good guys on our team, and the way we practice, they will all get an opportunity and get the same amount of reps. There will be lots of competition in that room, and that’s going to make them all better.”

    Harrison Bailey, 4-star QB — No. 124 overall, No. 4 PRO

    “Harrison’s a big guy that has a live arm. He really does a lot of things from within the pocket. He actually just led his team to a state championship. He’s a guy that really has anticipation throwing the football. He’s a great leader, captain of his football team.

    “If you followed Harrison Bailey, his name kind of hit the scene when he was in the eighth grade. The thing that really has attracted me to him and his family is the way the guy never let that affect him. Harrison Bailey was getting offers probably when he was in the eighth grade. The guy continues to improve every single year. If you look at where he was at going into his junior year, he was 6-5, 239 pounds. We met up there in our office and I talked to him about how we wanted him here at Tennessee, but I also talked to him about some things I thought he could improve his game on. The next year, going into his senior year, he’s lost 20 pounds. He’s probably gone from a 5.2 forty (yard dash) to a 4.8 forty (yard dash).

    “The guy takes pride in the way he plays and the way he prepares. He’s like a gym rat. He’s always trying to improve his game, and if you watch him, he has improved tremendously over the course of his high school career.”

    Jimmy Holiday, 3-star QB/ATH — No. 788 overall, No. 46 ATH

    “Jimmy Holiday’s a guy that’s a phenomenal athlete. He’s kind of one of these guys that you’re seeing that’s changing the game in pro football right now with his versatility of how he can run the football, different types of run games that he can do. He’s a guy that anytime he has the ball in his hands, has a chance to go the distance for a touchdown.”

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    Running Back

    Len’Neth Whitehead, 4-star RB — No. 181 overall, No. 10 ILB

    “Len’Neth Whitehead from Athens Academy in Athens, Georgia, is a guy that’s a big athlete. He’s probably 235 pounds but throws the shot (shot put) 69 feet, so that tells you a little bit about his athleticism. Unfortunately, he had an injury this past year and didn’t get to finish, but his high school team has been to the state championship a couple of times over the last few years.”

    Jabari Small, 3-star RB — No. 635 overall, No. 11 all-purpose back

    “Jabari Small is a guy from Briarcrest that can play tailback. He can play in the slot. To me, he’s a guy very similar to a guy we signed last year in Eric Gray. He’s used to winning, and he’s a guy that can get out of the backfield and create mismatches, a rocket sweep guy, return guy.”

    Tee Hodge, 3-star RB — No. 844 overall, No. 58 RB

    “A local guy here in Tee Hodge is a guy that we targeted early on. He came to one of the first camps that we had here. Again, another guy that’s part of a state championship team. He’s a big guy, loves Tennessee, and wanted to be here. He’s been a core guy in this class to help recruit. He committed and never wavered the whole time.”

    Wide Receivers

    Jimmy Calloway, 4-star ATH — No. 250 overall, No. 8 ATH

    “Jimmy’s (Calloway) a guy that played a lot of quarterback in high school, a little bit of wildcat. He’s a kick return guy, extremely fast. He has tremendous upside. Any time he touches the ball, he has a chance to score. He really played both sides of the ball in high school, but he’s a guy that we’ll focus on at wide receiver. He’s a very instinctive guy.”

    Jalin Hyatt, 4-star WR — No. 321 overall, No. 56 WR

    “Jalin Hyatt, from Columbia, South Carolina, is a guy that – I think I saw his record, he’s 51-1-1 as a high school player – so a guy that’s used to winning. He won his fourth consecutive state championship this past year. When you talk about fast, the guy runs a 10.4 in 100 meters. He’s a really good route runner, a guy that committed to our class back in the summer and never wavered the entire time. I don’t think he took another visit.”

    Offensive Lineman

    Cooper Mays, 4-star center — No. 317 overall, No. 6 C

    “Cooper Mays, a guy that we saw when we first got here. Was playing center, guard, and a little bit of defense, but you talk about toughness, knows how to play the game instinctively. Plays with the right leverage up front, a guy that we think has tremendous upside, a guy that could come in here and contribute right away.

    “Cooper is a guy that really loves the University of Tennessee. He’s a guy that we targeted early on and recruited him. We’re excited about him. Like I said before, he’s hard-nosed, loves the game, tough, plays the game the right way, and has been a big part in this recruiting process, helping us bring other guys here.”

    Javontez Spraggins, 3-star center — No. 663 overall, No. 15 C

    “Javontez Spraggins from East St. Louis is another guy that was a part of a state championship team and probably 6-2, 338 pounds. A guy that is extremely athletic and has really good balance and body control and is probably as excited about having a chance to continue his football career in college as anybody I’ve been a part of in recruiting. (He’s) a guy that is hungry and ready to get here, He’s already been calling today wanting to get the playbook, wanting to get the next workout. He’s a guy that’s used to winning.”

    James Robinson, 3-star guard — No. 734 overall, No. 44 OG

    “James Robinson from Montgomery, Alabama, is a guy that came to camp this past year, so we had a chance to see him work. He played right tackle on his high school team but is a guy that would probably end up being a guard for us. A guy that has power, he’s 6-3 320 pounds, and he came here at camp and probably took 60 or 70 reps of one-on-one in about an hour. He took rep after rep, which tells you a little bit about his competitive spirit.”

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    Ben McKee is a graduate from the University of Tennessee and has a degree in Journalism and Electronic Media. He covers Tennessee football, basketball, baseball, and the Lady Vols for RTI, and he's also the host of the RTI Podcast. You can also hear Ben on the morning sports radio show "The Swain Event." He's the producer and co-host along with former Vol wide receiver Jayson Swain.