Vols Offer No. 1 Overall JUCO Player

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    (Photo via @DreButler23 on Twitter)

    Tennessee still has a few spots remaining in their 2020 class, and the Vols are pursuing a handful of prospects to try and fill those holes. On Thursday, UT sent out an offer to a junior college defensive lineman from the famed Last Chance U television show.

    Deandre Butler is a four-star strong-side defensive end who plays for Independence Community College in Kansas. The 6-foot-5, 280-pound lineman is originally from Covington, Georgia. On Thursday, Butler added an offer from the Vols, the same day he picked up an offer from Ole Miss.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Butler is the No. 7 JUCO prospect and No. 1 JUCO strong-side defensive end in the 2020 class. On Rivals, Butler is listed as the No. 1 overall JUCO prospect in the 2020 class. He holds offers from Auburn, Oklahoma, Oregon, Maryland, and others.

    The talented defensive lineman was originally slated to play collegiate football with Chattanooga coming out of high school, but that ended up not panning out, and Butler didn’t play anywhere in 2018. In his first and only season at Independence, Butler turned heads and picked up offers from a plethora of Power Five programs.

    This past season was only Butler’s second year playing football. He primarily played basketball in high school before taking to the football field for his senior season.

    So far, Butler has taken official visits to Maryland and Oklahoma, and he’s scheduled to visit Auburn this weekend and Oregon next weekend.

    Tennessee may be getting in on Butler a little late, but there’s no doubt about his skillset. He’s a strong defender and has the physical tools to excel as a pass rusher or as a run-stopper both. He would fit in perfectly in either a 4-3 or 3-4 defensive scheme, and he plays aggressively and with very high intensity.

    In his one season at Independence, Butler totaled 66 tackles, 11.5 sacks, 22 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries, a fumble recovery for a touchdown, and a pass breakup according to the school’s website. He had a monster performance in Independence’s 31-20 victory over Iowa Central Community College, totaling 13 tackles, five sacks, and seven tackles for loss.

    The Vols already have one player on their roster who played at Independence Community College, and that’s defensive lineman Emmit Gooden. This past season, Gooden missed the entire year due to a season-ending injury in fall camp, but he’s expected to be a full-go for the 2020 season. In his first year with the Vols, Gooden played in all 12 games and made one start, totaling 33 tackles, seven tackles for loss, and a sack.

    Butler is expected to have four years to play three once he enrolls in college. He plans on making his college decision on National Signing Day on February 5th during a ceremony at his old high school.