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National Signing Day Recap: Tennessee Vols Football

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Tennessee’s National Signing Day is wrapped up and in the books as of Wednesday. So, combined with Tennessee’s early signees and transfer players from December, the Vols incoming class for the 2022 season is complete.

After a star-studded early signing period to close 2021, the Vols’ National Signing Day round-up was much quieter.

On Wednesday morning, Tennessee received a signed National Letter of Intent from Jayson “Jenks” Jenkins to close out the Vols’ #eVOLution22 class.

Jenkins, a three-star prospect in the 2022 class, announced his commitment to Tennessee while visiting Knoxville on Jan. 29. The New Jersey native used his Twitter account to make the announcement last Saturday, and then again on Wednesday to celebrate with his new coaches Josh Heupel and Rodney Garner.

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As a prospect in the class of 2022, Jenkins had 13 scholarship offers to play football. Jenkins had three SEC offers from Tennessee, Florida, and Missouri.

With the addition of Jenkins on Wednesday, Tennessee will be bringing in 25 new scholarship players for the 2022 season. Currently, those 25 players are divided up among 13 early enrollees, eight signees, and four transfer players. Although, according to Tennessee, former Florida transfer offensive lineman Gerald Mincey is also an early enrollee, bringing that number up to 14.

There was a point on Wednesday where Tennessee coveted a Top 15 recruiting class among three of the top recruiting publications in the country. The Vols were ranked No. 12 by Rivals, No. 15 by 247 Sports, and No. 15 by On3 Sports.

However, after a late push from SEC East foe Missouri, the Vols have slipped back, just a spot, here on Thursday.

Currently, the Vols have the No. 12 ranking from Rivals (No. 4 SEC), No. 16 ranking from 247 Sports (No. 7 SEC), and No. 16 ranking from On3 Sports (No. 7 SEC). In the latter two publications, Missouri has taken over the spot ahead of Tennessee on both.

Tennessee’s full class of 2022, #eVOLution22, can be found in the photo below provided by Tennessee Athletics. According to On 3 Sports’ rankings, Tennessee is bringing in 10 four-star prospects and 11 three-star prospects. However, according to both Rivals and 247, Tennessee only has a total of seven four-star players and 14 three-stars.

Regardless of the star rankings, though, Tennessee will be bringing in the right kind of talent for their system. Josh Heupel found his quarterback early in Tayven Jackson, found Jackson some weapons on the perimeter and in the pocket, and brought in some stout protection on the offensive line. On the defensive side, though, is where Tennessee really exceeded expectations. The Vols went out and recruited some nasty players for the trenches: guys that can stop the run through the pile-up and guys who can rush the quarterback with speed, power, and precision. Edge rusher James Pearce, edge rusher Joshua Josephs, and defensive lineman Tyre West are sure to be names with future potential for Tennessee.

National Signing Day
The 22 players who will be joining Tennessee, not including transfer players QB Navy Shuler, LB Jackson Hannah, and TE Charlie Browder. Photo via UT Sports/Tennessee Athletics.
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While the Vols only were able to get a few commitments from inside the state, Tennessee made sure to go back through and pick up some local players who will be preferred walk-ons.

During the course of the week leading into National Signing Day, the Vols received a handful of names that will be joining the team.

On Monday, Tennessee hauled in a trio of future walk-on players, including two from the state of Tennessee: WR/DB Derek Taylor from Greenbriar, TN, DL/TE Joshua Helsdon from Cleveland, TN, and WR/DB Whit Johnson from Centre, AL.

Then, on Wednesday, Tennessee received a few more players including Memphis’ Bennett Brady, the top-ranked long-snapper in the state of Tennessee, and Camron Douglas, a three-star defensive lineman from Brownsville, TN.

“Great day for Tennessee football and the future of Tennessee football,” Tennessee HC Josh Heupel said after the Vols’ early signing day in December. “Want to thank the families and the high school coaches that we’ve gotten an opportunity to know over the last 10-and-half months. Appreciate your support in trusting us with your young men and we don’t take that lightly. So excited about being able to add the 20 young men to Tennessee football here today.”

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