One of the hottest names on the recruiting trail in the 2021 cycle released his list of top teams on Wednesday night, and Tennessee made the cut.
Damarius McGhee, a four-star defensive back out of Pensacola, Florida, tweeted out a graphic showing his top five teams on Wednesday, and the Vols were included along with Georgia, Miami, Ole Miss, and Louisville.
Top 5? #Unofficial #RespectIt pic.twitter.com/UlntI1pJYR
— Damarius McGhee (@D_McGhee6) June 10, 2020
The 6-foot-1, 165-pound athlete has absolutely caught fire since finishing his junior season with Pensacola Catholic. Since the calendar has flipped to 2020, McGhee has picked up at least 17 offers from FBS programs, including the likes of Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma, and USC among others.
Because of that huge rise in interest from top-tier programs, McGhee has seen a big bump in his recruiting rankings, too. In 247Sports’ latest update at the end of May, McGhee jumped up from just outside the top 400 prospects in the 2021 class to No. 89 overall. He’s also the No. 9 cornerback and No. 12 recruit in the state of Florida per 247Sports’ rankings. He’s just outside of four-star range in the composite rankings at No. 371 overall, but it’s only a matter of time before he’s bumped on other sites and earns that fourth star there, too.
Tennessee was one of the first teams to offer McGhee, getting in on him before he blew up. The Vols extended an offer to him on July 31, 2019, joining Ole Miss and Mississippi State as SEC schools to offer him before the start of his junior season.
The versatile athlete does just about everything for Pensacola Catholic. He plays primarily on defense as a cornerback, but he also lines up at receiver on offense and even plays some quarterback. He’s also used as a return man on special teams, and he excels at that as well.
There’s a reason why McGhee has blown up on the recruiting trail recently, and it’s evident when you turn on his tape. He’s a burner who has a knack for making plays on the ball. He plays on both sides of the ball and uses his skills as a wide receiver to anticipate plays on defense. He can lay down some big hits, too, and he has pretty fluid hips. Not only does McGhee have a lot of potential and skills as a defensive back, but he’s a superb returner on special teams. He has a nice burst and has phenomenal acceleration, too. He uses that to his advantage in special teams and when picking off passes.
As a junior, McGhee totaled 49 tackles, two tackles for loss, four interceptions, five passes defended, a forced fumble, and a blocked kick on defense while catching 12 passes for 312 yards and two scores, running for 64 yards and two touchdowns on 13 carries, and completing five of his 10 pass attempts for 109 yards and three touchdowns according to MaxPreps. McGhee also returned two kick-offs for touchdowns and returned an interception for a score. In the last two seasons, McGhee has picked off seven passes and has returned two for touchdowns.
The Vols currently have 23 prospects committed to them in their 2021 class, and a number of them project as defensive backs. Four-star defensive back Kamar Wilcoxson, four-star athlete Kaemen Marley, three-star safety De’Shawn Rucker, three-star safety Edwin White, three-star cornerback Jay Jones, and three-star running back Elijah Howard are all capable of playing in the secondary in college.