Vols Among Top Teams for No. 1 OLB

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    (Photo via Andrew Ivins/247Sports)

    Back in early February, Tennessee was one of the top teams for one of the top linebackers in the 2021 cycle. Fast forward two months, and there’s been a shakeup in his recruitment, but the Vols are still in a good spot.

    Terrence Lewis, a five-star outside linebacker who plays for Chaminade-Madonna Prep in Hollywood, Florida, released a list of his top six schools two months ago, and Tennessee was included along with Florida, Texas A&M, Penn State, Ole Miss, and Nebraska. But on Saturday, April 4th, Lewis released a new top six, and both Florida and Ole Miss had been replaced by two other SEC schools. The Vols, Texas A&M, Penn State, and Nebraska remained in Lewis’ new top six, but LSU and Alabama replaced Florida and Ole Miss.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, the 6-foot-1, 200-pound linebacker is the No. 1 outside linebacker and No. 10 overall prospect in the 2021 cycle. The only recruit in the state of Florida ranked higher than Lewis per those ratings is five-star safety James Williams. Lewis holds offers from over 40 schools, but he’ll be focusing mostly on his top six teams moving forward.

    Tennessee offered Lewis back in May of 2019, and Lewis visited campus shortly thereafter. The talented linebacker was once committed to Florida, pledging himself to the Gators on January 22, 2019. But a few months later on April 13th, Lewis decommitted and reopened his recruitment.

    The top-rated outside linebacker was supposed to visit the Vols in January, but those plans didn’t work out. He also planned on coming to Knoxville once the dead period lifted after February, but he wasn’t able to get on campus before recruiting visits were temporarily postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Tennessee inside linebackers coach and ace recruiter Brian Niedermeyer is Lewis’ primary recruiter for the Vols.

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    Lewis is an explosive tackler who has a great burst off the snap. He can get into the backfield quickly and with ease, and he makes the ball carrier pay when he gets his hands around them. He makes plays look effortless, and his speed when closing on a ball carrier is impressive. He’s an athletic pass rusher who is also an effective run stopper, showing a lot of versatility. His long arms are a huge asset and adds another dimension along with his athleticism.

    As a junior at Miami Northwestern (before transferring prior to his upcoming senior season), Lewis amassed 105 tackles, 15 tackles for loss, nine sacks, and three interceptions in 13 games according to MaxPreps. He was named a First Team Junior All-American by MaxPreps after his 2019 season, and he helped lead Miami Northwestern to a 13-2 record and the Florida 5A state title.

    In Lewis’ two years at Miami Northwestern in 2018 and 2019, he combined for 207 tackles, 50 tackles for loss, 24 sacks, four interceptions, and three forced fumbles.

    Tennessee currently has nine players committed to them in their 2021 class, and only one of those prospects projects as a potential linebacker or pass rusher in college. Three-star strong-side defensive end Darrell Jackson — who also plays down in Florida — is UT’s lone pass rushing/linebacker commit in the 2021 cycle right now.



    Nathanael Rutherford
    Nathanael Rutherford is the managing editor and social media manager for Rocky Top Insider. Nathanael graduated from the University of Tennessee and cultivated a passion for the Vols while growing up in Knoxville a mere 10 minutes from Neyland Stadium. He's been a part of the RTI team since November of 2015 and has been the editor of RTI since June of 2017. If he's not talking or writing about Tennessee athletics, he's probably talking about Star Wars.