The criteria for being a Vols D-lineman

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The coaches at Tennessee have a formula for pinpointing specific prospects to recruit for putting pressure on passers and bringing down ball carriers.

The eight signees from the 2014 class was the sixth-best D-line grouping in the nation according to Scout. Led by four-star prospects Derek Barnett, Charles Mosley and Dewayne Hendrix, it’s a group that figured to and has contributed immediately.

Jashon Robertson began his college career on the defensive side before switching to offensive guard and starting every game in orange.

Barnett, who has started 6 of 9 games played, leads Tennessee with seven sacks and contributes 14 tackles for loss to a defense that ranks first in the Southeastern Conference and eighth national in total TFLs (69).

Tennessee defensive line coach Steve Stripling asks specific questions when deciding whether or not a recruit has what it take to be a Volunteer: “Is he athletic? Does he stay on his feet? Does he have the ability to use his hands?”

The second-year assistant says Tennessee could sign a player weighing “285 and develop” or ink another tipping the scales at 300 and “knock them down a little bit.”

The seven prospects from the 2015 class committed to play for Tennessee’s defensive front carry a combined star rating of 3.71. Led by Scout five-star Kahlil McKenzie, the bunch has potential to be even better than the 2014 haul and is positionally ranked No. 2 in the nation.

With back-to-back signing classes ranking in the top 10 nationally to defend the trenches, Tennessee figures to be on its way to rebuilding itself into being a national power.

One of the advantages of being an member is that the IT staff not only informs its readers what prospects are likely to commit to the Vols and why but gets explanations from the coaching staff as to what they seek position-by-position.

Click play below to hear more from Stripling describing the importance of the 2014 signees and the “recruiting criteria” involved in pinpointing targets for 2015 and beyond:

Stripling discusses D-line recruiting criteria

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