Vols are Finalists for Elite Defensive End

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    (Photo via Steven M. Falk/The Philadelphia Inquirer)

    One of the top defensive ends in the 2021 recruiting cycle has the Vols as a finalist as he narrows down his recruitment.

    Elijah Jeudy, a four-star defensive end who plays for Northeast High School in Philadelphia, tweeted out a video showcasing his five finalists, and Tennessee was included along with Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, and Oregon.

    According to the 247Sports Composite rankings, Jeudy is the No. 170 overall prospect and No. 12 weak-side defensive end in the 2021 class. He holds over two dozen offers, but he’ll be focusing on these five schools moving forward.

    Jeudy’s last visit before the COVID-19 outbreak temporarily suspended recruiting visits was to Knoxville. The 6-foot-3, 245-pound pass rusher and some of his Northeast teammates made the trip to UT’s campus on March 7th for a Junior Day event. Jeudy came away with a lot of positive vibes about the Vols after the visit.

    “The vibe is just different. It feels like home,” Jeudy told 247Sports after his visit to Tennessee. “There’s only one other place that felt like home — no, two — them, Georgia, and (Texas) A&M. Those are the only places that actually feel like home.”

    Tennessee offered Jeudy back on May 20, 2019, and they’ll remain firmly in his recruitment moving forward. Jeudy claims he does not plan on making any alterations to his list of finalists, and these five schools will be the only ones he focuses on before he makes a decision.

    Jeudy has excellent acceleration off the snap, and he can be in the backfield in the blink of an eye. He shows good bend and athleticism, and he has all the skills a coach wants in a pass rusher. He wraps up well on his tackles, and he can defend the run as well, though he definitely has elite skill when he’s just pinning his ears back and attacking the quarterback.

    As a junior for Northeast, Jeudy totaled 51 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, six sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt in 11 recorded games on MaxPreps.

    The Vols have a need for pass rushers in their 2021 class, and UT currently has a commitment from just one projected pass rusher in the cycle. Three-star strong-side defensive end Darrell Jackson is Tennessee’s lone pass rushing option currently committed to them.