Versatile Five-Star Samuel M’Pemba Closing In On Visit to Tennessee

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    Five-star athlete Samuel M’Pemba is closing in on his visit with Tennessee on June 9-12 according to a Twitter post this weekend. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound player has primarily been playing at the slot wide receiver position as of late but has plenty of experience playing both offensive and defensive positions in high school.

    M’Pemba is the type of player that, as Andrew Ivens of 247 puts it, you take now and figure out the position later. M’Pemba is an elite athlete and will be able to contribute in a variety of different ways to a team in the future.

    According to 247 Sports’ composite rankings, M’Pemba is the No. 27 overall player in the class of 2023, the No. 2 athlete in the class, and the No. 6 overall player from the state of Florida.

    M’Pemba has 36 scholarship offers according to 247, including major powerhouse programs such as Alabama, Notre Dame, Georgia, and Michigan. Tennessee was the fifth school to give M’Pemba a scholarship offer all the way back in August of 2020.

    The  St. Louis native transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida for his junior year of high school to elevate the national stage that he would be seen on. M’Pemba is also one of a number of players that Tennessee is currently targeting from IMG Academy.

    Tennessee is actively recruiting five-star offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa, five-star wide receiver Carnell Tate, and four-star wide receiver Devin Hyatt all from IMG. On Saturday, Mauigoa listed Tennessee in his official Top Six, which comes after a productive spring on the recruiting trail with Tate and Hyatt.

    After transferring to IMG, M’Pemba was primarily used as a slot receiver and found considerable success due to his size and athleticism. However, before he transferred, M’Pemba was known as an excellent pash rusher on the defensive side of the ball. According to Ivins, M’Pemba may even have more potential upside on the defensive side of the ball.

    Tennessee Recruiting: Tennessee In Top Group For Nation’s Top Offensive Tackle

    “When it comes to getting after the quarterback, has flashed the ability to bend and win with speed as he runs the arc,” Andrew Ivins wrote for 247’s scouting report on M’Pemba. “Will eventually need to develop a full menu of moves and learn how to find his run fits, but has the initial burst to be an effective edge player on Saturdays. Testing profile (30-inch vertical jump and 4.5 shuttle) also suggest that he could potentially drop back into coverage in certain situations. Might need some time to figure things out after juggling two positions, but large hands and favorable wingspan shouldn’t be overlooked as he doesn’t appear to be anywhere close to being taped out (believed to hovering right around 6-4, 235 pounds winter after junior year). Could thrive as a blitzing linebacker in a 3-4 scheme. NFL potential.”

    Despite playing both sides of the ball in high school with a focus on offense during his junior season, M’Pemba is reportedly expected to primarily play defense during his senior season with IMG Academy.

    Even though the Vols and head coach Josh Heupel will be getting Samuel M’Pemba in for a visit next week, Tennessee does look to have some ground to make up. According to On3 Sports’ Recruiting Prediction Machine, Georgia currently leads the way for M’Pemba’s recruitment at 65.7 percent, followed by Notre Dame at 22.4 percent.

    Ric Butler is a Knoxville based sports media personality who has covered University of Tennessee athletics since 2017. Most recently, he served as the lead writer for the website of a local radio station. Ric also helped create and host a daily radio show called “The Blitz." Ric’s passion for sports, smooth vocal, and infectious personality have made him popular with both his peers and Vol Nation. Originally from Dallas, Ric didn’t grow up riding horses to school. But he did dream of the big city lights. When not chasing down the latest Tennessee story, Ric can be found watching the WWE, often attempting their moves in an embarrassing fashion.