Impact Report: 2021 DB De’Shawn Rucker

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    (Photo via Andrew Ivins/247Sports)

    Every time Tennessee gets a commitment in either football or men’s basketball, we will write up an impact report looking at what that recruit does well, what we feel can be improved, and what his projected impact with the Vols could be over the next few years.

    Latest Commit: De’Shawn Rucker, DB
    Height/Weight: 5-foot-10, 170 pounds
    School: Amos P. Godby (Florida)
    Home Town: Tallahassee, FL

    Rankings
    247Sports Composite: 
    No. 512 overall, No. 32 S
    247Sports: No. 22 S
    Rivals: 5.5 rating

    Notable Offers: Alabama, Clemson, LSU, Florida, Oklahoma

    What we like:

    If you like blazing-fast speed, then you’re going to love watching De’Shawn Rucker’s film. The Florida defensive back can absolutely fly across the field on defense and on special teams. He’s been timed running a 10.76-second 100-meter dash in high school, and that shows on his film. He’s not just a speed demon, though; Rucker has a lot of good skills that benefit him as either a safety or cornerback at the next level. He’s smart and instinctual, and he reads the ball well and adjusts to it in the air effectively. He’s capable of playing both man and zone coverage, and he’s a nightmare for opposing quarterbacks to try and plan around.

    In college, it’ll be interesting to see where Rucker plays. I like his ceiling as a roaming safety that uses his speed to cover deep targets or clean up mistakes made in the second level. But I also think he has good potential at cornerback, too, thanks to his coverage skills and fluid hips. Regardless of what position he plays, I think Tennessee got a steal.

    Places to improve: 

    One area that I don’t know Rucker can really improve a ton is his size. He doesn’t have elite or ideal height for a cornerback in the SEC, and he doesn’t have the pounds to be a hard-hitting safety. He can work on adding the strength and weight, but his height may just be what it is. Rucker makes up for that lack of eye-catching size with his speed and his technique, though. I’d like to see him work on his physicality, too, though that’s not necessarily a weakness of his game. That’s just something for him to continue to improve.

    Analysis:

    There’s a reason Rucker has blown up on the recruiting trail in 2020. Not only does he possess game-changing speed, but he’s a very intelligent player who brings a lot of positional versatility to the field. Plus, he’s a play-maker on special teams too, which should help him find a role quickly early on as a freshman. He could play safety, nickel, or some sort of hybrid role in UT’s defense, and I think he can make a strong impact pretty early in his college career. Clemson, Florida State, LSU, and other programs have legit interest in Rucker and won’t give up pursuing him, so expect to see the Vols have to fight for him and for Rucker to climb up recruiting rankings.

    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.