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Over the weekend, two talented recruits in the class of 2023 announced upcoming visits to the University of Tennessee: running back Treyaun Webb and linebacker/defensive end James Heard Jr.
While both players are coming from opposite ends of the east coast, Tennessee head coach Josh Heupel and the Vols will be working hard to get both players to meet in the middle in Knoxville.
First up from the weekend was Webb, who dropped his announcement to Twitter on Friday. According to 247 Sports, ESPN Recruiting, and Rivals, Webb is listed as a four-star recruit and a top 10 running back in the class. ESPN has Webb as the 10th-ranked tailback, 247 has Webb at the 6th spot, and Rivals has Webb as the second-ranked running back in the entire class. In addition, Rivals does have Webb listed as a Top 100 recruit (No. 81).
Even though it is still a good bit on the horizon, four-star running back Treyaun Webb will be visiting Tennessee on April 8, according to his Twitter post.
— Treyaun Webb (@w_treyaun) February 11, 2022
Standing at 6-foot-1 and already weighing in at 205-pounds, Webb is a running back that will use his speed and his shiftiness to his advantage. Due to his explosive first step and ability to bounce the ball to the outside, combined with the high-level IQ to read the field, Webb is widely considered to have a high ceiling at the next level. In fact, Andrew Ivins, 247 Sports’ Southeast Recruiting Analyst, has Webb projected as a second to third-round projection in the NFL Draft.
“Absorbs contact better than most and seems to understand the value in always falling forward, or at least trying to get north before being taken to the ground,” Ivins said about Webb in his recruiting profile. “Short-area burst is there, but an extra gear would make him a true home-run threat. Will need to add some body armor at the next level as that could help with any durability concerns after he missed most of his freshman season with a broken arm and dealt with nagging ankle injuries as a sophomore.”
Unfortunately, though, Tennessee does look to be in a trailing position for Webb’s recruitment. According to 247’s experts, Webb’s leaders are Georgia, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and USC (Cali.). However, Webb does have three crystal ball predictions to Georgia, three to Oklahoma, and one to South Carolina.
Once Tennessee does get Webb on campus, the Vols will need to work hard to impress the four-star running back. Because if Tennessee doesn’t land him, it looks like there’s a very good chance the Vols will be playing against him very soon.
Currently, Webb plays for Trinity Christian School in Jacksonville, FL. Webb’s cousin, Dee Webb, was a former Florida Gators defensive back from 2003 to 2006 before being selected by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the 2006 NFL Draft.
“Has a chance to eventually make an impact for a College Football Playoff contender given his skillset,” Ivins said about Webb.
Following Webb’s announcement on Friday, another highly-touted recruit also made a similar announcement on Sunday.
James Heard, a four-star recruit according to Rivals and three-star according to On3 and 247, announced that he will be taking a visit to Knoxville on March 5.
— JH6 (@JamesHeardjr) February 13, 2022
Rivals’ recruiting services have the highest opinion on Heard, listing him as the 12th-ranked player at the defensive end position and the fourth-ranked prospect in the state of Pennsylvania. Meanwhile, 247 Sports has Heard as the No. 49 ranked linebacker in the class and the 13th-ranked player from the state of PA.
Standing at 6-foot-2 and weighing in at 218-pounds, Heard is listed as a linebacker on 247 Sports and a weakside defensive end on Rivals. It does look as though Heard began his football career as a freshman on the defensive line but has had the ability to move around the defense to play where he is needed against the high school competition. Judging by his current frame alone, Heard could potentially be tracking similar to a Byron Young type of player. During the 2021 season, Tennessee listed Young, Roman Harrison, and Tyler Baron as “DE/LB” on the roster. And for all three players, each of them competed in a little bit of a combined role as an edge rusher with linebacker athletism.
Throughout his recruitment so far, Heard has hauled in 15 scholarship offers according to 247, including four SEC teams: Kentucky, Ole Miss, Tennessee, and Texas A&M.
Heard originally played his first two high school seasons at Eastern Regional High School in New Jersey. However, after that sophomore campaign, Heard then transferred to Philadelphia’s St. Joseph’s Prep School.
With two talented recruits announcing visits to Tennessee in the two months, the Vols will need to work hard to add them into their class of 2023. Because for Treyaun Webb and James Heard Jr., both players could very well be lined up on the opposite side of the Tennessee team for the next few years.
Currently, Tennessee’s 2023 class ranks fourth in the SEC and includes three total commitments: four-star tight end Ethan Davis, three-star offensive tackle Ayden Bussell, and three-star DB Jack Luttrell.