It’s not very often a member of the Southeastern Conference is able to pluck top high school talent away from California. However, Tennessee did just that on July 10 when it earned a commitment from Scout’s No. 1 overall prospect, five-star defensive tackle and Volunteers legacy Kahlil McKenzie.
Despite the difficulty, the Vols’ staff will try to strike twice on the west coast in its pursuit of Scout five-star Keisean Lucier-South.
Lucier-South, rated the No. 5 outside linebacker and No. 29 overall prospect for the 2015 class, contends the Vols are serious players in his recruitment.
“Yeah, they’re in the top group right now,” the 6-foot-4 1/2, 220-pounder said.
“Great coaches, I can feel the vibe over there and great support and all that stuff. … I’m really liking the program, and they really take care of the players. I really like (Tennessee coach) Butch Jones.”
The defensive stud for Orange (Calif.) Lutheran told InsideTennessee that a couple Vols coaches stand out so far in his recruitment. According to Lucier-South, he’s “mostly” in contact with Jones and defensive line coach Steve Stripling.
“(Stripling)'s a great coach. He started talking to me again, because he took a break, but he started talking to me again, and I’m really liking him,” the Californian said.
Lucier-South had high praise for Jones as well. Thus far, Tennessee’s second-year head man played an integral role in the elite prospect’s recruiting process.
“It’s a big honor,” Lucier-South said of Jones hands-on approach the Vols’ pursuit of him.
“He’s a great coach and he’s changed that program, too. All the stuff he’s done has changed the program. I’m really liking Butch Jones.”
Though Tennessee is high on the blue-chip prospect, they’re by no means the only ones.
Lucier-South has made quite a name for himself, and the offers have rolled in as a result. Besides the Vols, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Texas, UCLA and USC highlight the long list of suitors. In a recent interview with Scout, the five-star mentioned Michigan and UCLA as the two teams recruiting him the hardest.
Lucier-South proved his worth so far this summer. The rising senior, who’s projected by many to end up as a hybrid defensive end/linebacker, earned defensive line MVP honors at the NIKE Football Training Camp held in Los Angeles. As a result, he became one of the 162 top high school prospects invited to NIKE's all-star summer camp, The Opening, in Beaverton, Ore.
The Californian plans to make his college choice either at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl on Jan. 3 or the following month on National Signing Day.InsideTennessee managing editor Danny Parker contributed to this report.