Nation’s Top Recruit To Play Senior Season In East Tennessee

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    Photo Credit: 247 Sports

    Walter Nolen, the number one player in the class of 2022 according to ESPN, will play his final high school season at Powell High School, WVLT’s Mark Packer reported Sunday.

    It’s been a whirlwind high school recruitment for one of the nation’s top prep prospects. Nolen announced that he wouldn’t play his senior season at St. Benedict at Auburndale earlier this offseason but had been quiet on where he’d play his senior season.

    Nolen considered a plethora of options for his final prep season including schools in Mississippi, closer to his west Tennessee hometown, and IMG Academy in Florida.

    In the end, Nolen decided on Powell and will play his final prep season 13 miles and 19 minutes from the University of Tennessee.

    The Panthers are one of the favorites in 5A this season and have a talented roster including the state of Tennessee’s top prospect in the class of 2023, Adarius Redmond.

    While Nolen is only the No. 1 player in the country according to ESPN, he is a unanimous top 10 recruit, coming in at No. 3 according to 247sports and No. 6 according to Rivals.

    The defensive lineman didn’t include Tennessee in his top eight in April but Vols’ defensive line coach Rodney Garner— renowned as one of the nation’s best recruiters— has put Tennessee back into the mix, making the five-star’s top-five earlier this month.

    Walter Nolen Tennessee

    (Photo via @WalterNolen4 on Twitter)

    While Florida has been viewed as the favorite to land Nolen, Tennessee appears to have momentum— earning three Rivals’ futurecast predictions for the versatile defensive lineman.

    Nolen playing his senior season at Powell doesn’t guarantee anything for Tennessee and the nation’s top prospect, but it should help the Vols get Nolen on campus more often this fall and should help its recruitment.

    The next question for Nolen is when he’ll be able to get clearance from the TSSAA and when he’ll hit the practice field with his Powell Panther teammates.

    Getting clearance from the TSSAA shouldn’t be a problem for Nolen as he and his family have been eyeing a residency in the area for some time now.

    Ryan Schumpert is a senior at the University of Tennessee-Knoxville who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since the moment he stepped on campus. He just completed a three-year stint with the Daily Beacon, the last two of which as the Sports Editor. Ryan also spent last three years at Volquest providing strong Tennessee baseball coverage of Tony Vitello's resurgent program. While the bulk of Ryan's responsibilities involved beat coverage and writing, he also recorded podcasts for both the Beacon and Volquest. Did we leave out the part about Ryan interning for the Smokies? Ryan's work ethic, versatility, and strong writing skills are but three of the reasons why Vol Nation will be hearing from Ryan for years to come.