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Tennessee Lands Mississippi Safety

Three-star safety John Slaughter committed to Tennessee Saturday while on an official visit to Knoxville.

Slaughter chose Tennessee over Ole Miss and Florida State — the two other schools in his top three — as well as Mississippi State and Memphis.

The Mississippi native had been trending towards Tennessee for a while, visiting Knoxville for a junior day in January, Tennessee’s “RockyTopPalooza” weekend in May and taking his official visit to Knoxville this weekend.

Recruiting Slaughter was a family affair for Josh Heupel, defensive backs coach Willie Martinez and the rest of Tennessee’s staff. Slaughter’s mother frequently called Heupel her favorite collegiate coach throughout her son’s recruitment.

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Slaughter ranks as a three-star and the nation’s 734th best player according to the 247sports composite rankings. The Southaven native ranks as the nation’s 61st best safety and the No. 13 player in the state of Mississippi in the 2023 recruiting class.

The 6-foot-1, 194 pound safety’s commitment gives Tennessee 11 pledges in the 2023 class and bolsters the class to No. 11 nationally on both the 247sports team rankings and On3 consensus team rankings.

Slaughter’s commitment gives Tennessee more defensive back commits than any other position. The three-star safety joins Jack Lutrell and four-star Sylvester Smith in Martinez’ defensive back room. All three commits are viewed as safeties by 247sports though Heupel and his staff preached versatility in the secondary this spring.

Tennessee is in the midst of a massive recruiting weekend that includes official visits from top commit Nico Iamaleava and top targets Francis Mauigoa and Cristian Conyer.

Conyer — a high three-star athlete — projects as a defensive back in college and is nearing his early July commitment date.

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