Tennessee Recruiting Week Praised by ESPN, Jumps Up in Rankings

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    Tennessee has been recruiting at an incredible rate this summer.

    Let’s put it this way. In the first 10 days of July, Tennessee has received commitments from two five-stars, two four-star players, and three three-star players.

    After a week in which Tennessee saw four commitments across a span of four days, ESPN football writer Craig Haubert carved out a feature section in his Monday recruiting article to highlight the Vols’ big additions.

    Tennessee has experienced plenty of struggles in recent years, but Josh Heupel is creating positive buzz in recruiting and has the Volunteers rising in the rankings,” Haubert wrote for ESPN. “QB Nicholaus Iamaleava‘s commitment in March laid the foundation for this class, and since then, they’ve successfully built upon that. Key recent additions include Chandavian Bradley, an edge defender who can be a disruptive pass-rusher with his length and initial quickness, and Cameron Seldon, a physical target with strong hands and good speed who could be a quick contributor.”

    As mentioned previously, Tennessee hauled in seven commitments during the first 10 days of the month. That includes 247 composite five-stars EDGE Chandavian Bradley and EDGE Jonathan Echols (Echols c/o 2024), four-star prospects WR Cam Seldon and OT Sham Umarov, and three-stars LB Jalen Smith, DL Tyree Weathersby, and DB Cristian Conyer.

    After the influx of commitments throughout the week, ESPN has bumped Tennessee up to the No. 8 overall spot in their class of 2023 rankings. ESPN has Tennessee behind Georgia (No. 6) and Arkansas (No. 5).

    “The Volunteers were able to score a big, early win on the recruiting trail with the commitment of ESPN 300 QB Iamaleava. Among the top QBs in the country, he is not only a talented passer, but he also moves well,” Haubert wrote for Tennessee’s section. “While he is a player they can build this class around, TE Ethan Davis was among the first commits for 2023. A talented basketball player, as well, he is still developing but has good ball skills and the ability to win contested matchups. The top-rated player in the state, Caleb Herring, an edge defender who can be a sideline-to-sideline presence, was another key addition for this rebuilding program. [Chandavian] Bradley also is big addition to their defensive class, as he is a lengthy edge player with physical upside who possesses excellent first-step quickness and good body control to develop into a disruptive pass-rusher.”

    Tennessee now has Top 10 rankings across all four major recruiting publications. In two of them, the Vols have a Top 5 ranking across the college football landscape.

    247 Sports and Rivals both have Tennessee’s class ranked at No. 5 overall and No. 1 in the SEC. On3 Sports and ESPN both have Tennessee’s class ranked No. 8 overall and No. 3 in the SEC.

    Tennessee’s summer recruiting gives some small insight into how the Vols are wanting to build the program. Tennessee is clearly prioritizing players that can get after the quarterback on defense, similar to how Byron Young was used in an effective way last year. Speaking of Young, that’s a player that should be due for a major breakout season in 2022.

    The Vols are collecting athletic players on both sides of the ball. No matter if you’re looking at Tennessee’s offense or defense last year, it’s fairly obvious to see how the Vols want to use extreme athleticism to their advantage – think of players like Young and Velus Jones Jr. Four-star wide receiver Cam Seldon is a player that fits that mold and projects to produce in several different ways for the Vols.

    Tennessee 2023 Recruiting Class (as of July 10):

    QB Nico Iamaleava

    • Five-star
    • Long Beach, California
    • 6-foot-5, 195-pounds
    • Committed 3/21/22

    EDGE Chandavian Bradley

    • Five-star (247 Composite)/Four-star
    • Platte City, Missouri
    • 6-foot-5, 220-pounds
    • Committed 7/10/22

    EDGE Caleb Herring

    • Four-star
    • Murfreesboro, Tennessee
    • 6-foot-5, 210-pounds
    • Committed 4/19/22

    TE Ethan Davis

    • Four-star
    • 6-foot-5, 215-pounds
    • Suwanee, Georgia
    • Committed 12/12/21

    ATH/WR Cameron Seldon

    • Four-star
    • 6-foot-1, 220-pounds
    • Northumberland, Virginia
    • Committed 7/7/22

    Safety Sylvester Smith

    • Four-star
    • 5-foot-11, 192-pounds
    • Munford, Alabama
    • Committed 4/26/22

    OT Shamurad (Sham) Umarov

    • Four-star
    • 6-foot-6, 270-pounds
    • Alpharetta, Georgia
    • Committed 7/8/22

    OT/ATH Trevor Duncan

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-5, 275-pounds
    • Knoxville, Tennessee
    • Committed 4/15/22

    LB Jalen Smith

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot, 213-pounds
    • Loganville, Georgia
    • Committed 7/10/22

    DL Nathan Robinson

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-5, 243-pounds
    • Greenbrier, Tennessee
    • Committed 4/11/22

    DL Tyree Weathersby

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-4, 251-pounds
    • Douglasville, Georgia
    • Committed 7/1/22

    CB Cristian Conyer

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-1.5, 170-pounds
    • Bowling Green, Kentucky
    • Committed 7/3/22

    IOL Ayden Bussell

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-4, 291-pounds
    • Mount Juliet, Tennessee
    • Committed 1/31/22

    Safety John Salughter

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-1.5, 194-pounds
    • Southaven, Mississippi
    • Committed 6/25/22

    ILB Jeremiah Telander

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-4, 217-pounds
    • Gainesville, Georgia
    • Committed 6/26/22

    Safety Jack Luttrell

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot, 177-pounds
    • Moultrie, Georgia
    • Committed 7/31/21

    WR Nate Spillman

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot-1, 180-pounds
    • Franklin, Tennessee
    • Committed 3/6/22

    RB Will Stallings Jr

    • Three-star
    • 6-foot, 211-pounds
    • Las Vegas, Nevada
    • Committed 6/19/22

    Tennessee 2024 Class

    EDGE Jonathan Echols

    • Five-star (247 Composite)/Four-star
    • 6-foot-4, 230-pounds
    • Bradenton, Florida (IMG Academy)
    • Committed 7/4/22
    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.