Currently, UT has 14 commitments, half of which are from the Volunteer State. That list includes: Rawls, Cox, Austin Rogers, Marsalous Johnson, LaMarcus Coker, Jeff Cottam and Demonte Bolden. Cox, Rawls and Cottam are all Memphis products and the Vols are thought to be the leaders for two more Bluff City natives in Briarcrest Christian offensive lineman Michael Oher and East High School tackle Dan Williams. That would represent the biggest haul for UT in Memphis in recent memory.
The six-foot-four, 300-pound, Rawls is rated the nation's No. 61 offensive lineman, according to Scout.com. He visited Tennessee last month and will apparently forego scheduled visits to South Carolina (Jan. 7) and Arkansas (Jan. 21). He didn't begin his football career until his freshman year of high school, but only surrendered one sack in four seasons at East.
A brilliant student, Rawls has a perfect 4.0 GPA and a 27 score on his ACT, which he plans to retake. He was offered scholarships by over 20 schools including Stanford, Notre Dame and other academic elites. But he preferred the football atmosphere and educational opportunities at Tennessee.
"Tennessee has great prestige in the SEC," Rawls told Scout.com's Allen Wallace recently. "I like the type of football they play, they have a good offensive system — they're a very run-oriented team, but they pass the ball sometimes. Coach (Jimmy Ray) Stephens (OLs) is a really good guy and I basically like that entire coaching staff. I like the smash mouth attitude of their offensive line — they really grind it down."
Rawls has excellent mobility with a 5.1 time recorded in the 40 and quick feet. He has the frame and long arms need to excel at tackle as well as the lateral speed to play a guard. His upside is outstanding, given his relative inexperience combined with his high capacity to learn. He could also get a look on the defensive side of the ball, but his greatest potential is believed to be in the O-line.
The commitment from Rawls followed an in-home visit from Tennessee coach Phillip Fulmer on Monday. At that time Rawls indicated that he expected to be joined on the the Hill by East teammate Dan Williams, 6-4, 320, 5.10, who also played both ways for East (6-5) last season.