Tennessee is looking to recapture its glory from the 1990s. Join us daily at SEC Country for the latest Tennessee recruiting news and notes on the next crop of Volunteers. Check out previous editions here . In this edition, we discuss where Tennessee stands with Alontae Taylor after he altered his final list over the weekend.
The latest with Alontae Taylor
Tennessee fans got their first bit of good news seemingly since August on Thanksgiving when former commit Alontae Taylor released his new top 5. The Vols made the list along with Georgia, Louisville, LSU and Wake Forest.
This was a big development for Tennessee. Taylor had been committed nearly a year-and-a-half before de-committing two weeks ago when coach Butch Jones was fired. He released a top 5 with his de-commitment announcement … and the Vols were not on that list.
I always believed Taylor never truly cut the Vols out and this proves he still is seriously considering Tennessee. He was a commit for too long and has too many connections on Rocky Top to not give the new coaching staff a chance.
There really hasn’t been much that changed on Tennessee’s front since his de-commitment, though the Vols could name a new coach by the weekend.
Taylor is one of the best athletes in the Class of 2018 and has been one of the hottest recruits in the last two months. He has attracted the attention of Ohio State, Notre Dame and Alabama.
But why are those blue-blood programs off his list? Well, I think it’s because Taylor desires an opportunity to play early and wants to play on offense. He’s said many times he wants to play quarterback in college. He said at a Tennessee camp last summer he felt like he was born to play quarterback. Louisville is offering the chance to play quarterback which is why the Cardinals are still in the running. The Louisville coaching staff made an in-home visit to Taylor’s place last weekend, too.
— AT (@TaeTaylor6) November 27, 2017
Taylor is realistic that his path to the NFL doesn’t include throwing the football, however, according to what he told Jeff Sentell of DawgNation. With his 6-foot frame and quick-burst speed, wide receiver or cornerback seem like better positions in that regard.
Taylor’s decision is set for Dec. 22, the last day of the early signing period. My hunch is the decision will come down to Tennessee and Georgia. I think he wants to stay close to home in Manchester, Tenn., and make a difference early.
This is something Georgia is trying to satisfy with special teams play.
“Because if [playing time] is given to me then I don’t want it,” Taylor told Sentell. “I want to earn everything at the university that I pick. So if I come in and work my tail off then I will have a chance of playing time. So I could see myself at Georgia and get that early playing time being on special teams.”
At Tennessee, he has the chance to get playing time out of almost necessity. The Vols don’t have a wide receiver commit in the 2018 class right now and the group currently on the roster was largely underwhelming this season. Taylor would have ample opportunity to compete for meaningful snaps early.
Georgia doesn’t know where Taylor will ultimately end. It has given him the option of showing up, and then the school deciding where to place him.
If the new Tennessee coaching staff assures Taylor will play wide receiver and have a legitimate shot at playing time, I truly believe he will sign with the Vols.
Trey Dean picks up an offer
Tennessee is short on secondary commits right now, as well, and safety Trey Dean has been a prime candidate to flip since his commitment in August. He committed seemingly out of nowhere in August, which raised a few eyebrows as Tennessee didn’t have much publicly known traction before the commitment.
TCU offered Dean on Monday, and that could be a sold landing spot for him. TCU has a solid player development program and a good defense. He could do a lot worse than learning under coach Gary Patterson.
It’ll likely come down to whom the Vols hire, but Dean is probably the commit who is closest to a de-commitment right now.
The Vols hold 15 commitments at the moment. Keeping as many of them as possible is paramount.
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