Good News, Bad News in UT Recruiting

Tennessee appears to have dropped out of the lead pack for one of the nation's top 10 defensive line prospects, but remains a solid contender for an athletic defensive end prospect from Atlanta.

On the same day Vol fans learned that Louisville D-linemen James McKinney was looking elsewhere to play his college ball, Atlanta defensive end Quinton Wesley confirmed his "childhood dream" to attend Tennessee.

Wesley isn't top-10 ranked but he does stack up well with McKinney in most areas and may have more upside. The 6-foot-4, 230-pound Wesley has 4.7 speed while McKinney is listed at 6-foot-3, 260 pounds with a 4.9 time over 40 yards. Wesley projects as a defensive end or tight end while McKinney is expected to become a defensive tackle or tight end.

The biggest difference between the two — at least in terms of how it affects Tennessee — is that McKinney has apparently reduced his list of favorites to Michigan, Clemson, Nebraska, Ohio State and Louisville. (He currently favors the Wolverines who want him as a tight end.) On the other hand, Wesley, who is a former teammate of UT true freshman Inquorous Johnson at Crim High School, is still very interested in the Vols.

"I like Auburn, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Tennessee and Oklahoma," Wesley told The Insiders Ryan Jordan. "It's been a childhood dream to attend Tennessee. My boy Inquorous Johnson is up there as well."

As a junior Wesley recorded 70 tackles including 40 solo hits with seven sacks, six tackles for losses, two caused fumbles and two fumble recoveries. He also played tight end and offensive tackle where he graded out at 90 percent and had 10 pancake blocks.

"My speed coming off the ball is what sets me apart," Wesley stated. "I can make a big difference at defensive end or 'SAM' linebacker depending on how we line up.

"I am considered a speed rusher. My speed, quickness, agility and acceleration off the ball are things I do well right now. I want to improve on my strength. I want to get more upper and lower body strength."

Crim is off to an 0-2 start this season and Wesley missed one of those games due to an injury that is still impacting his play.

"I had a concussion in the first game and I've been having a lot of headaches since then," he explained. "I missed last week and I'm going to see a head specialist pretty soon."

Wesley said he is taking a close look at "academics" and the "overall athletic department" but he doesn't have a favorite at this point. He does plan to take in a couple of college games this season which might give him a better idea. Mississippi State and North Carolina are the only schools among his top five that have come through with scholarship offers.

"I'm going to the Florida and Tennessee game," he said. "I'm also going to Auburn and Alabama. I'll set up my official visits after the year. I'm just focusing on my season right now."

Wesley may not be on UT's most wanted list now but he is a prospect of high interest and nothing changes like recruiting.

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