If you thought Tennessee’s recruiting momentum had come to a stop, you were wrong.
On Sunday, the Vols picked up their sixth commit in eight days when Florida defensive back De’Shawn Rucker announced his commitment to UT on Instagram Live. Rucker plays for Amos P. Godby in Tallahassee and chose Tennessee over a host of other offers.
Though Rucker is just a three-star right now, he’s on the borderline of being a four-star and will likely receive a big boost either over the summer or during his senior season. He’s rated as the No. 22 safety and No. 45 prospect in Florida per 247Sports, and the composite rankings list him as the No. 512 recruit, No. 32 safety, and No. 76 prospect in Florida.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back has absolutely blown up since the calendar turned to 2020. He picked up his first FBS offer from South Alabama on January 7th, then both Tennessee and Virginia Tech gave him his first Power Five offers a few days later on January 11th.
Since then, Rucker has added offers from Clemson, Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Auburn, Florida, Florida State, Miami, and many others.
Not only has Rucker impressed on the football field, but he’s an excellent track athlete, too. He was timed running the 100 meters in 10.76 seconds, and he helped his team earn the second-best time in the whole state of Florida in the 4×100 relay with a 41.7-second run. He also competes in the long jump and had a measurement of 6.65 meters in February.
Tennessee hosted Rucker for a Junior Day event back on February 2nd. He’s also taken visits to Clemson and Florida State
Rucker can absolutely fly. He has great acceleration and can get by opposing players in a flash. He’s smart and plays instinctively, showing off a good football IQ and ability to track the ball in the air and adjust to it. He’s a capable tackler who can play man coverage as well as zone pretty effectively. Rucker is also a competitor on special teams and uses his speed and intelligence well in that phase of the game, too.
As a junior, Rucker racked up 62 tackles, three tackles for loss, three interceptions, seven passes defended, a fumble recovery, and a blocked punt according to MaxPreps. He returned one interception for a touchdown and has totaled 112 tackles, four interceptions, and 13 passes defended over the last two seasons.
Rucker’s commitment gives Tennessee 16 pledges in the 2021 cycle. The Florida standout joins four-star Kamar Wilcoxson, three-star safety Edwin White, and three-star cornerback Jay Jones as projected defensive backs in UT’s 2021 class.