Vols are Finalists for 4-Star WR from South Carolina

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    (Photo via @jjjones_5 on Twitter)

    One of the top prospects in the state of South Carolina has whittled down his list of teams to five finalists, and the Vols have made the cut.

    JJ Jones, a four-star wide receiver who plays for Myrtle Beach High School, tweeted out his five finalists on Saturday night, and Tennessee was included along with Georgia, South Carolina, Mississippi State, and North Carolina.

    Back in mid-April, Jones released a list of his top 10 teams, and the Vols were part of that group. Tennessee survived the cut, but Penn State, Michigan, Virginia Tech, West Virginia, and Arkansas did not.

    According to 247Sports, Jones is a four-star and is rated as the No. 49 wideout and No. 2 prospect in the state of South Carolina. Jones is just outside of four-star range in the composite rankings, coming in at 414th overall in the 2021 class.

    The 6-foot-3, 195-pound receiver first picked up an offer from Tennessee on January 22nd of this year, just a few days after Jones attended a Junior Day event on UT’s campus. The Vols were the third SEC school to offer him and the sixth Power Five school to give him an offer at that time.

    Since then, Jones has added offers from Virginia Tech, Georgia, Michigan, South Carolina, Virginia, Kansas State, Ole Miss, and Missouri among others.

    Back in mid-April, Jones spoke with RTI about the Vols and his visit to UT’s campus, calling Knoxville “mesmerizing” and saying his visit was top-notch.

    “Knoxville is great. The campus is great. The facilities they have are amazing, top notch,” Jones said. “And just the environment of Knoxville was mesmerizing. It was a great visit.”

    Jones’ former high school teammate, Kenney Solomon, is a cornerback with the Vols, and Solomon has been selling Tennessee to Jones as well.

    “He says he loves it,” Jones said of Solomon. “The academic support is amazing, man. He says it’s top notch. Being able to play with him again would be super fun. I got injured while we were playing together, so I really only got to play with him for two games.

    “But who knows? Being able to play with him again, it could just be a dynamic duo.”

    Interestingly, Charles Powers of 247Sports compares Jones to former Vol and current Cincinnati Bengals wide receiver Josh Malone in his evaluation of Jones, calling him “dangerous after the catch with the ability to rip off long runs on tunnel screens.”

    Jones is very quick for his size, and he can outpace defenders with ease. He has a very large catch radius and can pull down some eye-catching receptions. He’s a great jump ball target and is extremely dangerous in the red zone. Jones shows good body control and has some solid route-running ability.

    Despite missing four games as a junior, Jones still racked up 45 receptions for 707 yards and 16 touchdowns for Myrtle Beach High School.

    Tennessee currently has 15 commits in their 2021 class, and they have a host of talented wideouts committed to them. Four-star Julian Nixon, four-star Jordan Mosley, three-star Walker Merrill, and three-star Roc Taylor all project to play at wide receiver for UT right now.

    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.