Tennessee Targeting a Pair of Independence Day Commitments

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    On the heels of locking down three-star athlete Cristian Conyer on Sunday, Tennessee is hoping for fireworks in the form of recruiting announcements this July 4.

    Two Tennessee targets, one in the class of 2023 and one in the class of 2024, will both be announcing their collegiate destinations this Independence Day. And ironically enough, both players are teammates at IMG Academy in Florida.

    Class of 2023 five-star offensive tackle Francis Mauigoa is set to announce his commitment on Monday at 3:00 p.m. ET. In addition, four-star defensive edge rusher Jonathan Echols of the class of 2024 is also set to announce on Monday.

    Ranking as the No. 9 overall player and the No. 1 offensive tackle in the class according to 247 composite rankings, Mauigoa is one of the biggest targets on Tennessee’s radar – literally and figuratively. The 6-foot-5, 330-pound lineman brings a different level of athleticism and ability to the position and would be great to pair up with five-star quarterback commit Nico Iamaleava.

    Mauigoa has been to Knoxville twice in the last six weeks including using his last official visit to Tennessee on the weekend of June 24.

    As of the day before his announcement, recruiting experts are still having a hard time determining where Mauigoa may land. Despite having no official Crystal Ball predictions from 247 Sports, Tennessee is the favorite to land the five-star on On3 Sports. According to On3’s Recruiting Prediction Machine, the Vols lead the way at 60.8 percent, followed by Miami at 20.4 percent and USC (Cali.) at 16 percent.

    On June 4, one month prior to his announcement, Mauigoa set a final six consisting of Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, USC, Miami, and Tennessee.

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    The other prospect that is ready to get his announcement out of the way is class of 2024 four-star edge rusher Jonathan Echols.

    Echols, from IMG Academy, currently ranks as the No. 35 overall player in his class, the No. 5 edge rusher, and the No. 10 player from the state of Florida according to On3’s consensus rankings. However, both On3 and 247 Sports’ individual rankings both have Echols as a top 10 overall player from a national perspective. Considering there is still roughly a year and a half until Echols’ class is able to sign on the dotted line, there is still plenty of time for rankings to change around.

    The 6-foot-4, 215-pound prospect received a new prediction to Tennessee from On3 Sports Director of Recruiting Chad Simmons just one week ago. On3 Sports’ Recruiting Prediction Machine has Tennessee as the overwhelming favorite at 95.8 percent.

    In addition, Echols also has a Crystal Ball prediction to Tennessee from 247 Sports Director of Football Recruiting Steve Wiltfong.

    Echols, along with Mauigoa, was also a part of Tennessee’s star-studded June 24 recruiting weekend in Knoxville.

    If everything goes according to plan for Tennessee, head coach Josh Heupel will be receiving two big Independence Day commitments in both Francis Mauigoa and Jonathan Echols. This is also after commitments from three-star defensive lineman Tyree Weathersby on Friday and three-star defensive back Cristian Conyer on Saturday.

    Tennessee is looking to bring the fireworks to the Independence Day recruiting party on Monday.

    Stay tuned to Rocky Top Insider for coverage on both commitments.

    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.