Athletic defensive linemen are the grand prize at the recruiting carnival. They’re a hard-to-find breed and one of the most valuable commodities of any roster that has them.
Greg Emerson has those traits as the size-and-speed dimension to his game means he has red circles painted on him as a target of Tennessee’s coaching staff.
The North Side (Tenn.) High School junior spent a pair of days in Knoxville in early March, including an extended stay with Jackson native and Tennessee midyear enrollee Trey Smith.
“I ended up spending the night with Trey and ended up ordering Gus’s. You talk about the biggest burger I’ve ever seen — what!” Emerson told InsideTennessee.
While the linemen that refer to each other as a “brother” have become quite close, their relationship doesn’t necessarily mean Emerson will wind up in orange and white.
“I wouldn’t really call it a factor cause, I mean, like, at the end of the day it’s still my decision,” Emerson said. “I mean, like wherever I end up going, he’ll still be my brother no matter what.”
The former Scout five-star prospect Smith is fresh off being a prized recruit himself, enjoying the wining and dining of the process.
“(Smith) has (offered advice) and I just know to learn from what he has done,” Emerson said. “I’m sort of, like, milking the process, you know, waiting it out. I see guys like (Class of) 2019 committing already. To me, I really don’t see no point in it because you only get one. I mean you only get one life, so I mean live it like you want to live it. I wouldn’t say (the friendship with Smith) is a big factor or anything though.”
The Scout No. 1 defensive end in the Volunteer State’s 2018 class visited Georgia in late March, watching the Bulldogs’ first day in pads at practice. Emerson wasn’t able to get back to Knoxville around that time but did see his friend in a video clip on social media.
“I think Trey actually pancaked a dude, so that was sort of funny,” Emerson said.
Smith is the youngest player on Tennessee’s roster, enrolling with four others at Tennessee in January. Emerson is giving strong consideration to doing the same, sacrificing his final semester in high school to jumpstart college life.
“I’m thinking about being an early graduate and probably just commit then on the spot and sign,” Emerson said. “And just early enroll wherever I decide to go. I’ll release my top 6 at The Opening Finals.”
The Scout 100 talent said the schools recruiting him the hardest are “Tennessee of course, Ohio State and Oregon.”
Emerson, who laser-timed a 4.84-second 40-yard dash at The Opening Atlanta while weighing 296 pounds, has also been to Columbus, Ohio, for a recruiting trip and hopes to get out to Eugene, Oregon.