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Recruiting Expert Gives Tennessee An Optimistic Report for Elite Prospect

David Sanders
Tennessee OT target Daviid Sanders Jr. Photo via Sanders (@CLT_BigDave) on Instagram.

Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Volunteers look to be making good progress in the quest to land one of the cycle’s top prospects, according to On3 Sports Vice President and recruiting expert Steve Wiltfong on Sunday.

Wiltfong’s latest news drop on On3’s The Inside Scoop states his belief that Tennessee is one of the three programs that are “in the best shape” to land No. 1 offensive tackle David Sanders Jr. from the 2025 class.

“Tennessee, Ohio State, and Georgia are the three programs that I think are in the best shape right now to land David Sanders,” Wiltfong said. “That doesn’t mean I’m sleeping on Clemson, but I think Georgia, Ohio State and Tennessee – and so Tennessee, they’ve already gotten him on campus three times this calendar year. Ohio State gets the last official visit, that will be his third visit to Ohio State this calendar year. So there’s still a lot of things happening in this recruitment.”

Wiltfong goes on to state the NIL factor before mentioning a potential frontrunner out of the three programs he listed.

“He’ll continue to have dialogue with each school, and such as it is with almost every other elite prospect in the country, NIL is going to be a factor,” Wiltfong said. “So there’s a lot of moving parts here with David Sanders, but I think Georgia checks a lot of the boxes that he’s looking for here at this point in his process.”

Wiltfong also gave a nugget that Sanders’ family will be an important factor in his future decision.

“And they also continue to make his entire family feel at home in Athens, and they’re making a family decision,” Wiltfong said.

On3 Sports Industry Rankings has Sanders as the No. 2 player in the 2025 class, the No. 1 offensive tackle in the class, and the No. 1 player out of North Carolina. The Charlotte prospect based out of Providence Day School is listed as 6-foot-5.75, 276 pounds.

For what it’s worth, Tennessee does lead the On3 Sports Recruiting Prediction Machine at 28 percent, followed by Georgia at 17.7 percent, Ohio State at 12.9 percent, and Clemson at 8.9 percent.

Sanders was previously in Knoxville for Tennessee’s 865 Live recruiting weekend on May 25 and is also scheduled for an official visit to Rocky Top on June 14 according to 247 Sports’ timeline.

More from RTI: Tennessee Defender Named To Lott Trophy Preseason Watch List

Sanders is a monster on the field using his size, physicality, and power to his advantage.

“An athletic offensive tackle prospect with an extremely high ceiling given measurables and movement patterns,” 247 Sports Director of Scouting Andrew Ivins wrote about Sanders in 2023. “Over 6-foot-5 and equipped with arms that stretch over 36 inches. On the lighter side now, but has plenty of time to add mass and has already posted impressive markers in the weight room for a youngster as he can power clean 335 pounds. Very nimble for someone with such long limbs as he can quickly set up for battle and then refortify, if needed.”


If he does commit to Tennessee down the road, Sanders would immediately be the crown jewel of the Vols’ class despite a few really highly-rated prospects on Tennessee’s board.

The Vols have 10 total commits to their 2025 class, which currently ranks No. 20 in the country according to 247’s Team Rankings. Tennessee’s class is headlined by five-star Nashville quarterback George MacIntyre followed by four-star Nashville defensive lineman Ethan Utley, four-star Texas tight end Jack Van Dorselaer, and four-star Memphis wide receiver Radarious Jackson.

David Sanders Jr. (0.990) would rank as the second-highest commit in Tennessee program history in the time that 247 Sports has been tracking rankings, only behind 2009 running back Bryce Brown (0.992) and in front of 2007 safety Eric Berry (0.9986) and 2023 quarterback Nico Iamaleava (0.9980).

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