Eyes on 'Opening': Part I

Sign up or sign in to read this Tennessee football recruiting update from InsideTennessee. Be sure to come to IT for all the latest in Tennessee athletics.

The college football recruiting world has all eyes on the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon for the now infamous ‘Opening,' which plays host to the nations top student prospective athletes.

Among the 150 prospects that have flocked to the left coast are several top athletes that have the Tennessee Volunteers in the mix for their services. InsideTennessee now gives you a look for the names to check on throughout this weekend's madness in part one of this feature.

Derrick Henry

Without a doubt, Henry is definitely first on every Tennessee fan's wish list this winter when in comes to the 2013 recruiting class. The 6-foot-3, 240-pound bruiser is almost indisputably the No. 1 tailback on Tennessee's board.

Henry, who originally committed to Georgia, reopened his commitment with Alabama out front with Tennessee, Georgia, USC, Clemson and Oregon trailing.

"Henry is an elite athlete that is bigger than most running backs in today's game," FoxSports Next analyst Chad Simmons said of Henry. "He is very productive, he pulls away from defenders, and he runs with good vision.

"He is a back that runs upright and he needs to run with more power behind his pads, but he does run through a lot of arm tackles, and is very good about keeping his legs moving until the end of the play. He is explosive and he has very good speed for a back his size."

Early word is that Henry threw down a 4.52 40-yard dash, a 41.9-inch vertical leap and a 141.87 SPARQ rating (99 percentile) during the individual workout portion of this week's activities.

Jason Hatcher

Hatcher is rated as the No. 3 defensive end in 2013 class according to FoxSports Next and recently listed Tennessee in his top five along with Louisville, USC, South Carolina and Ohio State.

The four-star defensive end earned defensive lineman MVP honors at the Nike Football Training Camp in Champaign, Ill., on his way to The Opening and his coveted by every top program in the country.

The 6-foot-3, 230-pounder is being persued by Tennessee defensive coordinator Sal Sunseri who has built a solid relationship with the Lexington, Ky., native.

Tennessee is hard after electric in-state athlete Jalen Ramsey.
(Danny Parker/InsideTennessee.com)

"I really like their new defensive coaching staff with coach Sunseri," Hatcher told FoxSports Next. "They could also get me early playing time and that's important to me."

Jalen Ramsey

It is hard to think of a prospect in the state of Tennessee that could be more exciting than Brentwood (Tenn.) Academy corner Jalen Ramsey. The four-star Nashville, Tenn., native racked up 45 tackles, three interceptions, three forced fumbles and eight pass breakups as a junior.

However, Tennessee is trying to fend of what seems to be a monster push by the USC Trojans. Ramsey had plans to be on campus late in June, but was unable to make the visit.

It will be a battle to the end for the 6-foot, 190-pounder, but for now one would gather the Trojans are out front for one of the top prospects in the Volunteer state, which could strike a cord in the heart of Tennessee fans given who is in the drivers seat for USC.

Kendall Fuller

The No. 2 corner in the class of 2013 according to FoxSports Next, Fuller has had the Vols in the mix from the beginning. A five-star prospect, he could be exactly what Tennessee needs to help launch a movement of top prospect to Rocky Top.

The Our Lady Good Counsel (Md.) High School prospect lists Clemson, Michigan and Virginia Tech as his top three schools, but Tennessee is definitely still in the mix.

He also earned Nike Football Training Camp MVP honors in Baltimore before receiving his invite to The Opening.

Derrick Green

In the search for a running back in the 2013 class, Tennessee continues to zero in on Derrick Green. The Hermitage (Va.) High School prospect recently narrowed down his list to 13 schools including Tennessee, Oregon, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Virginia Tech, Auburn, Clemson, Alabama, Miami, Pittsburgh, Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.

"A powerful running back who can blow through arm tackles and typically takes more than one defender to bring him down, Green has surprisingly quick feet for his size," Director of Scouting for FoxSports Next Scott Kennedy said of Green. "He can clear traffic between the tackles, not getting tripped up because of his good balance. Not a conventional breakaway threat because of raw speed, but gets his share of long runs after breaking tackles at the line of scrimmage."

Green, a 5-foot-11, 220-pounder, seems to be exactly the type of bruiser that is on Tennessee's short list of requirement for a running back in 2013.

Stay tuned for more coverage concerning ‘The Opening' from InsideTennessee.

Derrick Green

Chris Price is a staff writer for InsideTennessee.com. He was previously an intern for the site for two years before graduating from the University of Tennessee. He joined the InsideTennessee team in 2009.

Twitter | Facebook | E-Mail

Inside Tennessee Top Stories