Live Updates: Heupel Closes In On 2022 Class During Early Signing Period

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    Tennessee enters the early signing period with 17 commits as head coach Josh Heupel puts the finishing touches on his first full singing class in Knoxville.

    The Vols enter Wednesday with the nation’s No. 20 recruiting class and the SEC’s eighth ranked class with the possibility of adding a handful of players Wednesday.

    We’ll keep you updated on all of Tennessee’s early signing period movement including when the current Vol commits ink their NLI.

    Updated as of 3:11 p.m. ET.

    Jordan Phillips, Defensive Lineman

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    The Florida defensive lineman committed to Tennessee in late June after taking visits to Knoxville, Georgia Tech and Maryland earlier in the month. Phillips took a visit to Florida in September but stayed strong to his Tennessee pledge.

    Phillips ranks as the nation’s 687th best player and 79th best defensive lineman according to the On3 consensus rankings. The defensive lineman’s path to early playing Tim is slim with the Vols’ defensive line depth being one of their best positions on the team.

    Maurice Clipper Jr, Interior Offensive Lineman

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    The Alpharetta, Georgia native committed to Tennessee in July after taking official visits to Knoxville, Virginia Tech and Louisville in June. The 6-foot-4, 305 pound guard is a mauler who played his high school ball at Milton.

    Clipper ranks as the nation’s 702nd best player and 55th best interior offensive lineman according to the On3 consensus rankings. With Tennessee’s returning offensive line depth and Clipper’s need for polish, the Georgia native likely won’t see playing time for a few years.

    Addison Nichols, Interior Offensive Lineman

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247sports: Four-star

    Josh Heupel and offensive line coach Glen Elarbee earned the pledge of the Norcross, Georgia lineman in July. Nichols chose the Vols over a top three that included North Carolina and Ohio State.

    The Greater Atlanta Christian School standout ranks as the nation’s 155th best player and the 15th best player in the state of Georgia in the On3 consensus rankings. Tennessee expects to return four of its five starting offensive lineman and all three of its interior linemen. from a season ago. Like most offensive lineman, immediate playing time will be unlikely for Nichols.

    Christian Harrison, Cornerback

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star 

    The son of NFL legend Rodney Harrison committed to Tennessee over Florida and Nebraska in November. Harrison played his high school ball at Woodward Academy in Atlanta.

    The 6-foot-1, 180 pound corner ranks as the nation’s 934th best player and the state of Georgia’s 94th best player. Harrison doesn’t rank out as an instant impact player but like all defensive backs Tennessee signs, will have a chance to find the field early if they impress.

    Masai Reddick, Interior Offensive Lineman

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    Reddick committed to Tennessee in July after officially visiting Knoxville in July. Reddick also held offers from West Virginia and Ole Miss.

    The Michigan native ranks as the nation’s 937th best player and the state of Michigan’s 24th best prospect according to the On3 consensus rankings. Reddick is one of three interior offensive linemen committed to Tennessee and is a project signee that likely won’t see playing time anytime soon.

    Kalib Perry, Linebacker

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    Perry committed to Tennessee over Purdue in June after officially visiting both schools earlier that month. Tennessee linebacker coach Brian Jean-Mary took the lead in the linebacker’s recruitment.

    The Kentucky native ranks as the sixth best player in the state and the 770th best player nationally. Perry is not an instant impact player and with four of the Vols’ top five linebackers expected to return in 2022, Perry likely won’t see early playing time.

    Desmond Williams, JUCO Cornerback

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: No JUCO rankings

    Rivals: Not Ranked

    247sports: Three-star

    Williams became Tennessee’s third defensive back commit after choosing the Vols over Mississippi State earlier this month. The Georgia native earned all-conference honors at East Central Community College in Mississippi last season.

    The 5-foot-11 corner ranks as the eight best junior college player on both 247sports and ESPN. Tennessee’s cornerback depth was weak this season and the Vols lose Alontae Taylor and Theo Jackson to the NFL Draft this offseason. Williams isn’t a sure fire instant impact player, but Tennessee is banking on it as the corner has just two years of eligibility.

    Jourdan Thomas, Safety

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    Thomas was a longtime Mississippi State commit before de-committing in late November and committing to Tennessee during his official visit the first weekend of December. Thomas became the third defensive back commit in Tennessee’s class and the first safety commit.

    The Montgomery, Alabama native ranks as the nation’s 1,029th best prospect and 86th best safety according to the On3 consensus rankings. The lowest ranked commit in Tennessee’s class isn’t likely to make an instant impact but is someone Vols’ coaches are high on.

    Justin Williams, Running Back

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247sports: Three-star

    The four-star running back is Tennessee’s biggest pick up early on signing day as the Vols outlasted Auburn to land the running backs commitment Wednesday. Williams was originally committed to West Virginia before de-committing earlier this fall.

    Williams ranks as the nation’s 222nd best player and the state of Georgia’s 21st best player according to the On3 consensus rankings. The Dallas, Georgia native has the chance to be an instant impact player.

    Cameron Miller, Receiver

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247sports: Three-star

    Miller was one of Tennessee’s highest rated commits when he decided on Tennessee in July. The Memphis receiver held offers from nine SEC schools including Auburn and Ole Miss and 20 schools in total.

    The 6-foot-1 receiver ranks as a four-star and the nation’s 449th best player according to the On3 consensus rankings. Like all of Tennessee’s incoming receivers, Miller will have a chance to earn early playing time. However, the receiver played his high school ball in a low classification at Memphis Academy of Health Sciences. The adjustment to the SEC could be a challenging one.

    Marquarius “Squirrel” White, Wide Receiver

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247 Sports: Three-star

    Squirrel White has been a Tennessee commit since July, but that wasn’t the end of his recruitment by a long shot. As the season went forward, White continued to draw more attention from the top schools in the SEC, which is a positive nod towards Heupel’s original recruiting assessment. Even though White has taken visits to Auburn and Georgia in the last month, the speedy wide receiver is still locked in with Tennessee.

    White, a 5-foot-10, 155-pound receiver from Pinson, AL is ranked as the 50th receiver in the class by On3 consensus rankings. Additionally, he ranks as the 14th ranked player coming out of the state of Alabama.

    Dylan Sampson, Running Back

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Four-star

    The Louisiana running back committed to Tennessee over Purdue in June. The 5-foot-10, 180 pound running back only visited Tennessee after his commitment and stayed strong to his pledge.

    Sampson ranks as a four-star and the nation’s 437th best player in the On3 consensus rankings. Tennessee has solid depth at running back with Jabari Small, Jaylen Wright and Len’Neth Whitehead all set to return next season. Path to early playing time may not be clear, but also isn’t out of the realm of possibility.

    Elijah Herring, Linebacker

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247 Sports: Three-star

    Herring is an in-state recruit from Murfreesboro, TN, and is ranked as the 26th player in the state of Tennessee from On3’s consensus rankings. The Riverdale High School standout has been a longtime Tennessee commit, officially making his announcement all the way back in the middle of April.

    Herring was recently on campus on Dec. 3 for a big recruiting weekend, which was followed up with his signature on Wednesday. Herring’s brother, Caleb Herring, is an edge rusher from the class of 2023 and is the top-ranked player in the state of Tennessee for his class.

    Chas Nimrod, Receiver

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    The Bentonville, Arkansas native committed to Tennessee in August after visiting Knoxville in July. The talented receiver also visited Kansas State, Illinois, Utah State and Washington State in June. Nimrod was a frequent visitor at Tennessee after committing, unofficially visiting for the Tennessee Tech and Ole Miss games before officially visiting last weekend.

    Nimrod ranks as a four-star and the nation’s 405th best prospect according to the On3 consensus rankings. The 6-foot, 181-pound receiver isn’t likely to find playing time next fall.

    Joshua Josephs, Edge Rusher

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Four-star

    Tennessee landed a commitment from the talented Georgia pass rusher in November. Josephs chose the Vols after taking four visits to Knoxville between June and October. The pass rusher committed to Tennessee over Michigan and Auburn but also officially visited Penn State.

    The Kennesaw native ranks as the nation’s 197th best player and the 19th best player in the state of Georgia according to the On3 consensus rankings. Despite strong play from junior college transfer Byron Young, Tennessee’s pass rush floundered a season ago. Josephs should have an opportunity to come in and earn immediate playing time.

    Kaleb Webb, Receiver

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247sports: Four-star

    The talented receiver is the latest Tennessee commit entering the early signing period, choosing the Vols over Michigan and Louisville. The Georgia native’s recruitment blew up this fall after a breakout senior season. Webb was committed to East Carolina, but decommitted after three visits to Knoxville this fall and winter.

    The 6-foot-3 receiver ranks as the nation’s 253rd best player and the state of Georgia’s 23rd best player according to the On3 consensus rankings. Webb earned a reputation as a strong returner in high school and with Velus Jones Jr. and a handful of receivers graduating, Webb will have an opportunity to earn early playing time.

    Brian Grant, Offensive Tackle

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Three-star

    Rivals: Three-star

    247sports: Three-star

    The Florida offensive lineman was one of Tennessee’s first commits, giving his pledge to Josh Heupel and the Vols before even visiting campus. Grant held offers from BYU and Maryland.

    Grant ranks 835th best player in the country according to the On3 consensus rankings. The Fort Walden Beach native is a project that won’t see immediate playing time in Knoxville.

    Tyre West, Defensive Lineman

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247 Sports: Four-star

    Tennessee earned the talented defensive tackles commitment on signing day as West flipped his commitment from Georgia to UT. West was poised to flip away from the Bulldogs but Florida State looked like the likely destination before a late Tennessee push.

    West ranks as the 141st best player and 21st best defensive lineman in the country according to the On3 consensus rankings. With his signature, West becomes the highest ranked signee in Tennessee’s 2022 class.

    Tayven Jackson, Quarterback

    ESPN: Four-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247sports: Four-star

    After striking out on Ty Simpson and Sam Horn — a pair of highly ranked quarterbacks with UT connections — Heupel and his staff did a fantastic job of getting involved and earning a commitment from a highly sought after quarterback. Jackson held offers from Texas A&M, Michigan, Florida and a handful of other big name schools.

    The Greenwood, Indiana native ranks as the nation’s 205th best player and 14th best quarterback in the On3 consensus rankings. Jackson led Center Grove High School to a state championship this season. The four-star quarterback will sit behind Hendon Hooker for a season before competing for Tennessee’s starting job ahead of the 2023 season.

    James Pearce, Edge Rusher

    ESPN: Three-star

    On3: Four-star

    Rivals: Four-star

    247 Sports: Three-star

    The third blue-chip recruit Tennessee added on signing day, North Carolina pass rusher James Pearce chose UT over South Carolina, Georgia and Louisville. Josh Heupel and Rodney Garner were consistent on Pearce, getting the Charlotte native on campus for three games this fall.

    Pearce ranks as the nation’s 189th best prospect and the fourth best prospect in the state of North Carolina according to the On3 consensus rankings. On3’s own rankings are bullish on Pearce, ranking him as the No. 57 player in the country. Like any pass rusher, Pearce will have a chance to earn playing time early in his Tennessee career.