InsideTennessee

Tennessee's 2017 class scouting reports

What is Tennessee getting out of its 2017 class signees? Let the Scout network explain the Vols future.

A fresh crop of talent is on its way to Tennessee.

The 2017 class commitment dates span from March 14, 2016, to Jan. 24, 2017.

Eight commits are from Tennessee to be the most represented state, followed by Florida (7), Georgia (3), Louisiana (3), Virginia (2), Alabama (1), Mississippi (1), North Carolina (1), Texas (1) and West Virginia (1).

The InsideTennessee staff will update this page as the signed National Letters of Intent make their way to the Anderson Training Center in Knoxville.

Five members of the Class of 2017 enrolled in school in January and are part of the first group to live in the Stokely Residential Hall.

Here’s a look at the recruits that are officially a part of Tennessee Volunteer football with scouting reports from Scout network recruiting analysts:

Will Ignont

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1721563-scout-s-t...

Few linebackers got as much interest from the South's premier programs at as early of an age as the New Market, Alabama, native before several backed off late in the process for separate reasons. Tennessee scooped in and Ignont never wavered on an orange-clad future.

http://www.scout.com/player/196361-will-ignont?s=7

Ignont's Projection

If everything from the neck-up is squared away with Ignont and he's driven to get 1 percent better on a daily basis, he's going to be a steal for Tennessee. He must mature and learn from mistakes he's made as an adolescent. The staff believes he's already started turning the page, which made him an easy take given the physical ability. He has the frame to play any of the linebacker positions in any formation. Some project Ignont as a defensive end, but he's expected to get a long look at linebacker before he would be asked to put his hand on the ground.

Theo Jackson

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1680005-jackson-calls-tenne...

Louisville, Louisiana State and Vanderbilt were just some of the schools that offered before the Nashville native shut down his recruitment with a commitment at an Orange Carpet Day event.

http://www.scout.com/player/206423-theo-jackson?s=7

Jackson's Projection

The Scout network ranks the Overton High standout as the No. 1 athlete in the Volunteer State but Tennessee coaches have recruited Jackson as a defensive back from the jump. Where in the secondary he plays is anybody's guess, but he has the length to help the Vols in a variety of roles. Of the signees in this group, is probably the longest with a slightly wider wingspan than Maleik Gray. Jackson is quite skinny and will need to glance at Emmanuel Moseley's diet from three years ago in order to pack it on.

Brent Cimaglia

The former Southern Miss commit simply couldn't pass on the opportunity to play SEC football at his home state school.

http://www.scout.com/player/201920-brent-cimaglia?s=7

Cimaglia's Projection

Redshirt. Develop. The Williamson County native should have to do no more than those two things his first year in a Tennessee uniform as Aaron Medley mans the kicker duties in 2017. Once Medley is gone, his fellow mid-state product can take over without a few of the mental anguish that comes with being a true freshman kicking in front of 102,455. It still won't be easy but it should be a beneficial fall for Cimaglia.

Trey Coleman

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1706467-game-vide...

Louisiana Tech is a program rumored to be attempting to get Coleman to flip before things became final.

http://www.scout.com/player/173318-trey-coleman?s=7

Coleman's Projection

Suffice it to say the chips are stacked against Coleman if he's going to get on the football field in 2017. Tennessee went from having just two scholarship backs in the program to having more than twice that count with Coleman hopping on board. He's the third signee from Louisiana as Robert Gillespie hit that state hard this cycle. West Monroe High School tends to churn out DI talent. If Coleman can't get handoffs but shows playmaking ability on Haslam Field, then Tennessee coaches will find a way to throw in the ball in the flat as Coleman has advanced pass-catching skills.

Marquez Bembry

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1651899-bembry-bringing-tal...

Kansas State, Wake Forest and Wisconsin were some of the last schools to offer Bembry before he pulled the trigger for Tennessee back on March 15.

http://www.scout.com/player/203680-marquez-bembry?s=7

Bembry's Projection

Health, if the defensive end can find it, Bembry has all the physical skills to be a standout on The Hill. Pairing 10.6 track speed with ferocity off the edge and it's easy to see what Tennessee coaches saw in the Peach State talent. He did go down with a knee injury his final prep season, so that's set him back. Once he's rehabbed and gets to the 250-pound range, look out. That may take a couple seasons, so patience will be imperative.

Jordan Murphy

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1746228-jordan-murphy-real-...

Murphy was the commit that had the most hoopla surrounding him as a potential flip come signing day with Mississippi coaches coming after the Hattiesburg native, including hosting him on a visit in Oxford just four days prior to pen heading to paper.

http://www.scout.com/player/205478-jordan-murphy?s=7

Murphy's Projection

No doubt that Murphy has the skill to go get the football. He also knows the route tree, not just a deep threat like some speedy pass catchers. Combined the tools with production as the second-leading receiver in the Magnolia State. As soon as Murphy learns Butch Jones' offense, he's going to be tough to keep off the game field.

Jacquez Jones

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1748218-wr-commit-110-vol-a...

Both Central Florida and South Florida got the attention of Jones down the stretch but a commitment that'd withstood since the summer held up through the process.

http://www.scout.com/player/204201-jacquez-jones?s=7

Jones' Projection

One of the least heralded prospects on Tennessee's pledge sheet, the No. 121-ranked pass catcher in the country will get the opportunity to prove quite a few people wrong. Jones comes from a talent-rich area of Florida. The confidence gained from going up against quality defensive backs will be a tool Jones will want to toss in the duffle bag as he makes his way to Knoxville in May.

Tim Jordan

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1748823-coach-speak-vols-rb...

The former Western Kentucky commit got quite a bit of attention once the calendar flipped to December, including plenty from Tennessee, which beat out North Carolina in January to secure the runner's pledge.

http://www.scout.com/player/211897-tim-jordan?s=7

Jordan's Projection

At his current size and given he still has weeks of basketball to go, it may be tough for Jordan to get meaningful snaps at running back as a true freshman. If he can stomach the chicken, salmon and tune he must eat to pack on the pounds in time, that could change and he could get deep into the competition to get former Vols back Alvin Kamara's touches. Jordan's prep coach says the runner loves to practice, which will be music to the ears of running backs coach Robert Gillespie. The Sunshine State native has enough juice to rocket past defenders in short range and owns a nose for the end zone.

K'Rojhn Calbert

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1728892-scout-s-t...

Tennessee had no competition for the McMinnville native once it offered but Florida, Louisville and South Carolina showed considerable interest in the fall and summer.

http://www.scout.com/player/209907-k-rojhn-calbert/news?year=2016&s=7

Calbert's Projection

If there's a signee in the class that the staff is banking on the upside, it's Calbert. He has just one full year of high-school football under his belt and had knee injuries earlier in his athletic career. So there are risks involved. But, at 6-feet-5, 290 pounds and the explosiveness to dunk a basketball, the Vols coaches see a player who can redshirt, learn under the veteran blockers and compete for a starting job in 2019 or so.

LaTrell Bumphus

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1679897-vols-get-state-s-no...

Bumphus committed to Tennessee after an Orange Carpet Day event and then shut it down, being as loyal to the Big Orange as any player in the 2017 class.

http://www.scout.com/player/204469-latrell-bumphus?s=7

Bumphus' Projection

Another of the multi-dimensional wave of talent ascending upon Rocky Top as Bumphus could be a playmaker at defensive end or tight end, however, he's going to start his career at Tennessee on offense. Paired with James Brown, Bumphus injects talent for both blocking and pass catching to Larry Scott's position group at tight end. He's not terribly close to reaching his peak as the body needs work. It'll be exciting to see what Bumphus can do after receiving college-level coaching year-round.

Ty Chandler

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1695986-scout-s-t...

Getting an Ole Miss legacy to pass on following in his father's footsteps wasn't easy. Recruiting coordinator Robert Gillespie was key here.

http://www.scout.com/player/193129-ty-chandler?s=7

Chandler's Projection

Among the most vital pieces of this recruiting class is the Nashville native. John Kelly will need help carrying the workload and Chandler has the skills to get that done. Chandler has already shown he has the work ethic to get it done in the weightroom after packing on 10-12 pounds between his junior and senior seasons with the Big Red. The U.S. Army All-American arrives with 6,100 rushing yards on the prep level, including three straight appearances in TSSAA Division II Class AA state championship games. The sky is the limit here. Chandler should hear the Neyland Stadium crowd erupt after he touches the rock on several occasions before he hangs up the orange cleats.

Eric Crosby

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1663391-tennessee...

Virginia Tech was Tennessee's top competition when Crosby committed last April. Louisville was among the programs that lost out on trying to get the D-tackle to change his mind in January.

http://www.scout.com/player/189574-eric-crosby?s=7

Crosby's Projection

Crosby is in the tiny group of defensive tackles across the country who may can contribute along the front line at a Power 5 program. In January, he told IT that he bench pressed 365 pounds, which is just a portion of his impressive strength numbers for a teenager. Crosby still has work to do in that department but there's something with which to work. Oddly, the Virginian needs to lose weight before moving to Knoxville as he's in the 330 range and needs to get much closer to 300 pounds with his frame. Crosby comes from one of the premier programs in Virginia after having suited up for Ocean Lakes High.

Ryan Thaxton

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1741445-watch-eas...

The one-time Virginia commit opened things up late in the process, officially visited Tennessee..and didn't need to see anything anywhere else, canceling all other trips.

http://www.scout.com/player/208733-ryan-thaxton?s=7

Thaxton's Projection

How quickly Thaxton gets into the rotation at defensive end has quite a bit to do with how quickly he can pack on 20-30 pounds. At his present weight of 230, Thaxton isn't going to have enough strength to push SEC tight ends around, let alone offensive tackles. Still raw, he will need to be a sponge around Vols assistants in order to reach his high upside.

Maleik Gray

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1677881-analysis-...

Alabama, Florida State and Southern California were thorns in Tennessee's side for much of the process but holding off the 'Noles was no easy feat with Gray.

http://www.scout.com/player/183405-maleik-gray?s=7

Gray's Projection

For the longest it's seemed like Gray would add weight and develop into a sideline-to-sideline linebacker. That bulk never came and the mid-state product appears destined for a role as a Tennessee nickelback or safety. Gray has all the skills necessary to one day be an All-SEC performer, but he must put it all together and pay close attention to Bob Shoop's teachings.

Terrell Bailey

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1713210-terrell-b...

Arizona State is a program rumored to be nudging its way in late but it wasn't enough down the stretch to overcome Tennessee. Neither were late-process offers by Notre Dame and Oregon.

http://www.scout.com/player/206795-terrell-bailey?s=7

Bailey's Projection

Bailey joins Cheyenne Labruzza as defensive backs from Louisiana that are Tennessee bound. Bailey isn't a freak athlete but he does have solid size at just under 6-feet tall and a makeup that Charlton Warren will find attractive. Bailey needs to get more physical in hitting ball carriers or risk getting trucked on the edge by SEC backs. He also needs to get more explosive coming out of his backpedal. Quick-twitch refinement could push Bailey past some other DBs at Tennessee.

James Brown

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1722906-brown-pou...

Prospects from Central Florida are hard to get to say no to the Florida Gators but Tennessee was able to get Brown to do that late in the process.

http://www.scout.com/player/209203-james-brown?s=7

Brown's Projection

Tennessee coaches suggested Brown give tight end a look as he was a massive quarterback on the prep level that didn't quite include the skills to be an SEC level signal-caller. The length and ability definitely translate to the tight end spot as  assistant coach Larry Scott played an instrumental role in getting the Orlando native to not only call Knoxville home but to totally buy into the new position. With Jason Croom graduated, competition will be fierce between Brown, Jakob Johnson, Austin Pope and Eli Wolf to get those reps alongside Ethan Wolf.

Cheyenne Labruzza

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1710634-cheyenne-...

Rare is it that anyone is able to go into Louisiana and sign a defensive back that Louisiana State pursued but the Vols were able to do that with Labruzza.

http://www.scout.com/player/203435-cheyenne-labruzza?s=7

Labruzza's Projection

The Louisiana native saw a knee injury shorten his senior year of high school, however, he should be completely healed by the time August training camp arrives. How recovered and strong Labruzza will be is the question. If the Scout 300 talent is 100 percent, he will contend with Shawn Shamburger and others to get into the two-deep at cornerback right away. Time will tell but the skills are there.

Joshua Palmer

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1748814-palmer-closes-recru...

The skilled pass catcher appeared headed for Syracuse before he opened up his recruitment in December. He officially visited Tennessee and UCLA before settling on the Vols.

http://www.scout.com/player/200865-joshua-palmer?s=7

Palmer's Projection

Of the receivers making their way to Rocky Top this recruiting cycle, Palmer is the most skilled. At 6-feet-3, 185 pounds, his body doesn't have far to go to get in college shape. Like St. Thomas Aquinas teammate Kivon Bennett, Palmer arrives on Rocky Top with championship experience. The duo were part of a super-talented squad that won the FHSAA Class 7A crown in December. Palmer is a mature young man that has the makeup to be both coachable and subsequently a higher upside.

Solon Page III

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1663195-butch-puts-things-i...

Several programs expressed interest in Page early in the process, including Louisville, North Carolina and Virginia before Page pledged on April 16.

http://www.scout.com/player/193592-solon-page-iii?s=7

Page's Projection

Hails from the same Kell (Ga.) High School as former Tennessee five-year starter Brian Randolph. Page has a laser-timed 40-yard dash that's under 4.6 seconds. That should give him the wheels to succeed on the second level of the Vols defense. Page does need to add some bulk to hold up to the rigors of the Southeastern Conference schedule but that's commonplace for teenage 'backers.

Kivon Bennett

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1680092-no-4-dt-i...

Many thought the defensive tackle would change his mind and follow his father Cornelius Bennett's footsteps and join the Alabama Crimson Tide but Kivon held true to the Vols.

http://www.scout.com/player/204184-kivon-bennett?s=7

Bennett's Projection

Ample pedigree of a winner, which coincides with Butch Jones' recruiting profile. The defensive lineman for back-to-back-to-back FHSAA Class 7A state champion St. Thomas Aquinas possesses an advanced skill set for an incoming lineman. That's the type of weaponry you'd expect from the son of a former NFL Pro Bowler. When Bennett's body is right, he will be tough to keep out of the D-tackle rotation. He's another example of the grave importance associated with the hiring of Rock Gullickson.

Shawn Shamburger

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1726681-shamburger-provides...

Several programs charged late in the process for the future Volunteer, including Georgia and Mississippi, however, Shamburger officially visited Knoxville only.

http://www.scout.com/player/209941-shawn-shamburger?s=7

Shamburger's Projection

Few Tennessee football sources have heaped as much preseason praise on the Colquitt County (Ga.) High School standout as IT, but his advanced fundamental set lends itself to his competing for a starting job immediately. Malik Foreman is gone. Cameron Sutton is gone. The Vols need cornerbacks who can prevent Vanderbilt from throwing for 400-plus yards. Shamburger could be one of those guys. He's played in two of the South's more dominant programs in recent years, including the move to the Peach State so he could compete as a 19-year-old senior. Rush Propst was his coach at Colquitt County.

Matthew Butler

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1739777-butler-ha...

The defensive lineman exhausted all five official visits before setting on his last — Tennessee. Other finalists included Duke, N.C. State, Penn State and Texas A&M.

http://www.scout.com/player/195456-matthew-butler?s=7

Butler's Projection

Few people believe in Matthew Butler as much as Matthew Butler. Confidence is not an issue for the Tar Heel State's top-ranked defensive tackle. He was a key get for Tennessee as it attempts to rebuild depth along its defensive front and Butler could play a number of spots there. Depending on how his 265-pound frame changes his first year on campus, he has a shot at making his way into the two-deep. If Vols coaches only see Butler as a three-technique, then he may be in line for a redshirt in attempt to pack on 20-plus pounds. Had 26 sacks as a senior.

Deandre Johnson

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1737046-scout-s-t...

The defensive end was a verbal commitment to Mississippi State before changing to Tennessee in December.

http://www.scout.com/player/204052-deandre-johnson?s=7

Johnson's Projection

At 6-feet-3, 239 pounds, the girth and strength levels are not yet there for contributions off the edge in Year 1 on Rocky Top, not without tremendous gains made in the offseason workout program under first-year Tennessee strength and conditioning director Rock Gullickson. Defensive line coach Steve Stripling prefers his ends weigh 250-260 pounds. Johnson's a state champion in FHSAA Class 8A, which is Florida's largest classification. He also overcame an awful stabbing incident from a female that was a classmate.

Riley Locklear

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1716840-east-no-4...

The interior offensive lineman selected Tennessee over top contenders such as Florida State and West Virginia.

http://www.scout.com/player/205594-riley-locklear?s=7

Locklear's Projection

The West Virginian got an idea of how the Vols practice on Haslam Field with a spring visit and had a good idea he wanted to play at Tennessee when he camped in Knoxville in the summer months. He ranks as a guard but had no issues with the ball in his hand and snapping as a center with assistant coach Don Mahoney looking on. He could be the heir apparent to Coleman Thomas after a redshirt year. Getting January-May to engineer his body will spark his development.

Will McBride

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1737935-commit-an...

The lone scholarship quarterback in the class was a one-time commit to both Memphis and Southern Methodist.

http://www.scout.com/player/207551-will-mcbride?s=7

McBride's Projection

The right-handed quarterback comes from facing some of the premier prep talent in the land having competed against large schools in the Lone Star State. McBride has started parts of three straight seasons. At 6-feet-1, he isn't the tallest signal-caller in Tennessee history, but he's plenty athletic enough to create his own passing lanes if need be. He's part of a four-horse race to be the new Vols starter in replacing All-SEC performer Joshua Dobbs. First-year Tennessee quarterbacks coach Mike Canales getting to Rocky Top after McBride means the freshman's position coach doesn't arrive on campus with a favorite in mind to lead the offense.

Shanon Reid

http://www.scout.com/college/tennessee/story/1735798-scout-s-take-vols-s...

The linebacker seemed infatuated with Michigan for much of the process before LSU got his attention prior to his setting on Tennessee.

http://www.scout.com/player/206154-shanon-reid?s=7

Reid's Projection

Reid told IT that he gave up his final semester of high school in a tropical paradise for one reason: to start at linebacker. The South Florida product must gain quality weight if he wants to crack the two-deep his first season in Knoxville. His enrolling in January may allow for that time. Unlike some other athletic 'backers this staff has brought in that had to transition from other positions, Reid is a natural at the position. He must learn how to drop into space with the same success that the buries ball carriers in the backfield. He has potential to be a first-team special teams performer right away.

Trey Smith

http://www.scout.com/college/football/recruiting/story/1735023-scout-s-t...

The elite blocker had a top 6 that included some of the nation's best but it was Ohio State that finished runner-up.

http://www.scout.com/player/192573-trey-smith?s=7

Smith's Projection

Tremendous upside as a blocker that could lead to an NFL career as a guard. The five-star tackle told IT that he prefers guard. Expectations are for Tennessee coaches to start the Under Armour All-American out at tackle but Don Mahoney loves to cross-train all his linemen. He will compete Year 1 with potential guard starters such as Venzell Boulware, Jack Jones and Jashon Robertson. The two-time Opening Finals participant has grown-man hands and it's hard for defenders to disengage once he gets a grip. Smith's sister Ashley works in Tennessee's athletics department. He hails from the same area in the Volunteer State as VFLs Trey Teague and Al Wilson.

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