BREAKING: Tennessee Lands Elite 2024 Edge Rusher

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    The No. 5 overall player in the class of 2024 according to 247 Sports, Jonathan Echols, has officially announced his commitment to Tennessee.

    Echols marks the first commitment to Josh Heupel and Tennessee’s class of 2024.

    The Franklin, Georgia native announced his commitment to Tennessee with a social media post on Monday, July 4.

    “Knoxville I’m home!!” Echols said.

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    Despite playing his freshman and sophomore seasons at Franklin Heard County High School in Georgia, Echols transferred to IMG Academy in 2022 and is set to play his junior season there this fall.

    Interestingly, the current defensive coordinator for IMG Academy is former Tennessee assistant Brian Niedermeyer, who drew controversy with Vol fans over a recruiting-based tweet in late June.

    According to On3 Sports’ consensus rankings, Echols lands as the No. 35 overall player in the class of 2024, the No. 5 EDGE, and the No. 10 player from the state of Florida. Echols ranks as a four-star prospect according to On3, 247, and Rivals.

    Despite only going into his junior year of high school, Echols has already surpassed more than 30 scholarship offers. Echols chose Tennessee over other offers such as Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Miami, Ohio State, and Ole Miss.

    Standing at 6-foot-4, 230-pounds, Echols has an extreme amount of athleticism to his game. The rising junior has also performed on the high school track team which only adds to his abilities on the football field. As 247 Sports Southeast recruiting analyst Andrew Ivins said in his scouting report in May, Echols is “kind of a scout’s dream.

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    “Long and quick,” Ivins said in his scouting report for 247. “Initially graded out as an EDGE, but has some position ambiguity to him having gotten snaps at quarterback, tight end, linebacker and wide receiver over the years in addition to defensive end. Tested exceptionally well the winter after sophomore season, going 4.8 on the lasers in the 40-yard dash at roughly 6-foot-4, 215 pounds. Also posted a 4.5 in the short shuttle to go along with a 120-inch broad jump and a 34-inch vertical jump. Owns a slender build now, but should eventually add plenty of mass given dimensions (81-inch wing span and 10-inch hands). As a pass rusher, flashes not only a nice get-off, but also the ability to bend while running the corner. Seems to be the most comfortable firing out of a two-point stance, but does have experience putting his hand in the dirt.”

    Ivins also pointed to Echols as having “NFL upside” as a rising junior in high school.

    Echols’ last visit before his announcement was in Knoxville on the weekend of June 24. Tennessee hosted multiple high-profile recruits that weekend and looks to have left an impression on the talented 2024 prospect.

    Jonathan Echols now marks Tennessee’s third commitment of the extended Fourth of July weekend. The Vols received a commitment from 2023 defensive end Tyree Weathersby on Friday and one from 2023 defensive back Cristian Conyer on Saturday.

    This is also after Tennessee received two commitments last weekend as well: 2023 defensive back John Slaughter III and 2023 linebacker Jeremiah Telander.

    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.