The early signing period has arrived and Rocky Top Insider is here to provide updates throughout the week on recruits that Tennessee is involved with.
Several of Tennessee’s current commitments are scheduled to sign on the dotted line between Wednesday and Friday, while other targets are set to finalize decisions as well. Jeremy Pruitt will meet with the media at 4;30 p.m. ET on Wednesday to discuss the recruiting class. He’ll then host a signing day special with Mike Keith, the voice of the Tennessee Titans, at 7 p.m. before heading over to Vol Calls to make his weekly appearance.
Follow along here for live updates of Tennessee’s early signing period:
3:12 p.m., Friday: Three-star defensive lineman Isaac Washington becomes the 17th signee for the Vols during the early signing period.
- Washington committed on Jan. 25 of this year at one of Tennessee’s junior days, but then decommitted after former defensive line coach Tracy Rocker left for South Carolina. Pruitt and the Vols were able to get Washington back in the boat, when he re-committed on March 7. Tennessee sees him as a tackle on the inside or as an edge rusher.
11:03 p.m., Wednesday: Four-star athlete Kaemen Marley is the last to sign with the Vols on the first day of the early signing period.
- Marley has played just about every position for his Eastern Randolph High School team in Ramseur, North Carolina. The 6-foot-3 athlete has played quarterback, running back, wide receiver, tight end, inside linebacker, outside linebacker, free safety and strong safety, but mainly played receiver his junior year of high school, but also played in the secondary. Tennessee has talked to him about being a defensive back. The swiss-army-knife had 26 total touchdowns, 814 receiving yards, 396 rushing yards and three interceptions as a junior.
5:40 p.m., Wednesday: JUCO OLB/WDE Byron Young commits to Tennessee over Auburn and Ole Miss, signs with Vols.
- Young is ranked by 247Sports as the top-ranked junior college weakside defensive end.
5:24 p.m., Wednesday: Three-star athlete Jaylen Wright signs with the Vols.
- Wright will play running back for the Vols as well as kick returner. The North Carolina native is also a track standout who was a state champion last year in the 55-meter dash. Wright has a personal record of 10.84 seconds in the 100 meters and posted a video on Twitter that showed him running a 4.28-second 40-yard dash.
4:25 p.m., Wednesday: Four-star running back Cody Brown signs with Tennessee.
- Brown picked Tennessee over Auburn after he rushed for 1,676 yards and 21 touchdowns on 214 carries in 12 games as a junior. He runs with power and does not shy away from contact. Like Evans, he’s the power back Jeremy Pruitt has been looking for.
1:04 p.m., Wednesday: Four-star wide receiver Julian Nixon signs with the Vols.
- Committed on April 28 after naming a top seven of Georgia, Auburn, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU and Florida. Tennessee’s coaching staff has said they envision him as a deep-ball receiver and a big, physical receiver who reminds them of Jauan Jennings.
12:54 p.m., Wednesday: Three-star offensive lineman J’Marion Gooch signs with the Vols.
- Tennessee had to work hard to flip Gooch from Auburn, which he did in September. The 6-foot-7.5, 360 lbs. is a raw prospect, but as the tools to blossom into one of the best offensive tackles in the conference. Gooch played part of his high school season at nearby The King’s Academy, but is originally from Gallatin, Tennessee.
12:51 p.m., Wednesday: Four-star corner Damarius McGhee commits to LSU over Tennessee.
- McGhee decommitted from the Vols on Thanksgiving. Tennessee remained in the picture for the long, athletic corner, but he ultimately decided to commit and sign with LSU. It’s a big loss for the Vols who are still looking for help at corner. The staff was very high on McGhee.
12:40 p.m., Wednesday: Four-star quarterback Kaidon Salter signs with Tennessee.
- Salter is the crown jewel of Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class. Simply because of the position he plays and because he’s one of the most talented players the Vols will sign this cycle. The Cedar Hill, Texas native committed on May 10 over offers from Auburn and Baylor. Salter has a big arm and is the new-age quarterback that has the ability to make plays with his legs. He is a defensive coordinator’s worst nightmare.
12:04 p.m., Wednesday: Three-star wide receiver Walker Merrill is official, becoming the first to sign with the Vols on Wednesday afternoon.
- Merrill is another player in Tennessee’s class that will out-play his ranking. The in-state wide receiver from Brentwood High School is sneaky athletic who committed to Tennessee over Vanderbilt and Ole Miss on March 31st.
11:59 p.m., Wednesday: Three-star in-state offensive lineman William Parker signs with Tennessee.
- Parker committed to Tennessee over Alabama and Florida on Sept. 4. Nick Saban was upset when he finished second to the Vols. Rightfully so, as Parker is a prospect who is guaranteed to be a much better college football player than where he is ranked. Parker is mean, nasty and the physical offensive lineman this staff prefers.
9:18 a.m., Wednesday: Three-star athlete Trinity Bell signs with the Vols.
- Bell will begin his Tennessee career along the defensive line, though he could also play tight end for the Vols. He played football last year for the first time since he was in seventh grade. Dale Pruitt, Jeremy Pruitt’s father, was Bell’s head coach at Albertville for a few months last year during the offseason before leaving to become the head coach at Dade County High School in Trenton, Ga., going into the 2019 season.
9:00 a.m., Wednesday: Three-star tight end Miles Campbell officially signs with the Vols.
- Campbell will be an early enrollee for the Vols and a significant one considering his position and Tennessee’s current state of the tight end position. Tennessee envisions him playing a versatile role at tight end, being a guy that can split out wide and a guy that can alone be a blocker. Campbell is a bigger athlete and more of the new-age tight end the Vols desperately need. He chose Tennessee over Georgia Tech and N.C. State.
8:41 a.m., Wednesday: The nation’s No. 1 junior college running back, Tiyon Evans, signs with Tennessee.
- The staff is extremely high on Evans and views him as a future NFL running back. Evans, who decommitted just before the season and then re-committed, should serve as a great complimentary back to Eric Gray next season. Evans is the power running back that Jeremy Pruitt has been looking for.
8:33 a.m., Wednesday: Four-star defensive tackle Katron Evans signs with the Vols.
- Evans is the second signee the Vols have signed from St. Frances Academy in Baltimore, Maryland this recruiting cycle and the third the Vols have signed in the past two recruiting cycles, joining Aaron Willis and Dominic Bailey. He chose the Vols on May 9th over Auburn, Kentucky, USC and Arizona State. He’s a physical, aggressive interior lineman who isn’t just a guy who eats blockers and takes on double-teams, but also disrupts running plays.
8:07 a.m., Wednesday: Three-star athlete Christian Charles from Georgia signs with the Vols.
- Charles has primarily played quarterback in high school, but most schools that have recruited him envision him playing other positions in college. That includes Tennessee, which recruited him to play in the secondary.
7:56 a.m., Wednesday: Three-star lineman Amari McNeil becomes second recruit to sign.
- McNeil is listed as an offensive lineman on recruiting services and was recruited to play offensive tackle by most schools, but he’ll play along the defensive line for the Vols.
7:26 a.m., Wednesday: Four-star linebacker Aaron Willis is the first to sign with the Vols.
- The athletic linebacker from Baltimore, Maryland became the first to sign with Tennessee on Wednesday morning. Once a Virginia Tech commit, the former teammate of current Vols defensive lineman Dominic Bailey and fellow signee Katron Evans, Willis transferred to Life Christian Academy to ensure he could play his senior season. Willis played more outside linebacker at St. Frances, but projects as an inside linebacker for the Vols. Undersized, but is ferocious and will knock your head off.
8:07 p.m., Tuesday: Edwin White decommits from Tennessee
- White is Tennessee’s second decommitment on Tuesday night. “I would first like to thank the coaching staff at the University of Tennessee for believing in me and offering me my first year in high school but I would like to decommit from Tennessee to open my options up again to find a true home,” White said.
7:43 p.m., Tuesday: Elijah Howard decommits from Tennessee, commits to Virginia Tech
- Howard decommitted from Tennessee, citing that his “family values faith over uncertainty” in a tweet he shared when making his announcement.