One of Tennessee’s twenty-sixth head football coach, Jeremey Pruitt’s, biggest strengths is his ability to recruit talented football players. This skill was shown when Pruitt was an assistant at Alabama, where he was named 247Sports National Recruiter of the Year in 2012.
Now in his third full recruiting class, this skill is materializing in a big way.
As of early October, 247Sports has ranked the Tennessee football recruiting class of 2021 sixth in the country and third in the SEC. Much of the talent committed back in the late days of spring, where Coach Pruitt was able to use the on-field momentum to end last season and sell to recruits.
The 2021 class is headlined by five-star outside linebacker Terrence Lewis. After receiving offers from Florida, Alabama and Auburn, the Opa Locka, Fla. native committed to the Vols on Apr. 30. 247Sports’ Charles Power compared Lewis to current Bears linebacker Roquan Smith.
“[Lewis is] instinctive as a run defender and blitzer with the ability to pick his way through the line and make tackles for loss. Has high-level closing speed and ability to chase plays down in pursuit,” Power said.
Another promising prospect coming to UT is four-star edge rusher Dylan Brooks. Brooks, a Roanoke, Ala. native, fielded offers from Auburn, Alabama and Arkansas before committing to Big Orange on Apr. 26. According to 247Sports, Brooks is, “flexible off the edge, dipping with bend as he rounds the arc. Plays fast and tracks down plays in pursuit with impressive speed. Disengages from blocks and looks to embrace contact.” The site also compares Brooks to current Broncos pass-rusher Bradley Chubb.
One of the top offensive weapons in Tennessee’s 2021 recruiting class is four-star running back Cody Brown. Before committing to the Volunteers on May 3, Brown also considered offers from Auburn, Florida, Florida State and Georgia. The Lilburn, Ga. native drew a comparison to Raiders tailback Elijah Hood by 247Sports.
“[Brown] excels as a downhill runner with the ability to run through arm tackles at the second level. Decisive in reading his blocks and doesn’t hesitate in getting upfield. Flaunts a strong stiff arm and runs with good contact balance,” Power said.
At this point, the only quarterback committed in the 2021 class is four-star Kaidon Salter. The four-star dual-threat committed to Tennessee on May 10. Salter, out of Cedar Hill, Texas, also received offers from Arizona State, Auburn, and Baylor. Salter was compared to Green Bay Packers rookie Jordan Love by 247Sports.
“Good downfield arm strength with above average short-to-intermediate velocity. Great improvisational skills. Dangerous in the scramble drill. Very mobile and throws well on the move. Pass-first QB but definitely athletic enough to hurt defenses with his legs” recruiting analyst Gabe Brooks said.
Jeremy Pruitt and his staff are expected to continue attracting big-time recruits, especially if the on-field product continues to progress as fans hope, given his track record.
Edited by Christian Knox and Gracie-Lee Strange
Image courtesy of 247Sports