Can Vols Bag Sack Master?

To appreciate how much Tennessee could use the elite pass rushing services of Carlos Dunlap one only has to look at last season's statistics, as the Vols had a total of 17 sacks as a team while Dunlap recorded 24 sacks by himself.

UT will get a chance to make a lasting impression on the sack master from North Charleston, S.C., when the 6-foot-7, 245-pound five-star prospect makes his official visit to campus this weekend.

Dunlap led Fort Dorchester High School to a 9-3 mark last fall, recording 105 stops including 35 tackles for a loss, following up an excellent junior season in which he had 103 tackles (22 for losses) and nine sacks. He also scored five defensive touchdowns.

Rated the nation's No. 7 defensive end, Dunlap has seen his stock steadily climb over the last six months until he has become one of the most sought after high school players in the south.

Scout.com offers this evaluation of Dunlap's game: "Dunlap is pushing 6-foot-8, and seeing in person the growth spurt from last spring to this fall Dunlap may not be done growing. He plays very well off the ball, getting into the backfield quickly and able to make his key reads while playing his assignment. He has long arms and knows how to keep off of offensive linemen while adjusting to plays in the backfield. Deceptively quick, Dunlap can run a play down from the backside."

Dunlap has visited South Carolina and makes the Gamecocks a slight favorite at this point. He visits Florida next weekend and is still considering Georgia, Clemson and Virginia Tech although that trio trails his top three schools.

The Vols got a commitment from No. 8 defensive end Ben Martin last Saturday and would like to add another to boost a pass rush that has been on the decline the last several seasons. UT also has a commitment from four-star defensive end Gerald Williams.

Dunlap, who runs a 4.70, probably has the best upside of any of these standout pass rushing prospects but he is still awaiting the results of his ACT exam which he took last month.

Another high profile prospect expected to visit Knoxville this weekend is Stefoin Francois of East Saint John High School in Reserve, La. Rated the nation's No. 5 safety by Scout.com, Francois is a U.S. Army All-American and four-star prospect who posted a remarkable 155 tackles as a junior.

Home state LSU holds a lead at this point but Francois has visits remaining to UT and Florida State and is still interested in Arkansas and Alabama. A physical hitter with 4.5 speed and a 4.31 shuttle, Francois could play either safety position.

"The first thing that jumps out at you is that he will be a four-year starter on a Class 5A team," said East St. John head coach Larry Dauterieve. "The kid has been in the line of fire. He has got great range and he will knock the snot out of you. When you see him on film he is always around the ball. And did I mention that he will knock your head off."

It sounds as though the 6-foot, 190-pound Francois would be an ideal candidate to fill UT's vacancy at strong safety, while adding him would give the Vols perhaps their best haul of DB prospects ever.

One defensive back that apparently won't be visiting UT this weekend is No. 22 corner Ryan Broyles of Norman, Okla., who was scheduled to be in Knoxville but has decided to replace that trip with one to Oklahoma State instead. His other finalists are Arkansas, Michigan State, Texas Tech and Texas A&M. This is his last official and would seem to eliminate the Vols.

One of the more intriguing prospects slated to be on The Hill this weekend is Tallahassee corner Justin Footman of Lincoln High School. A non-rated sleeper he has been offered by Florida State, Illinois, LSU, Marshall, West Virginia and Tennessee.

Tennessee will also be hosting a pair of Carolina products — defensive tackle William Brimfield of Neeses, S.C. and wide receiver Dwight Jones of Burlington, N.C. — who committed to the Tar Heels but began to explore their options after the coaching change.

Rated the nation's No. 58 defensive tackle the 6-foot-5, 288-pound Brimfield had 55 tackles with 10 sacks and three forced fumbles as a senior at Hunter-Kinard-Tyler High School last season. An athletic big man who is quick off the ball and runs a 5.0 time in the 40, Brimfield has offers from North Carolina and South Carolina and is being pursued by Tennessee, Clemson and N.C. State.

"I'm still open, but I'm leaning towards Tennessee right now," Brimfield told Don Callahan of Inside Carolina. "That's my number one school right now. Right now – given the fact that I haven't been there to the campus yet – they've been doing some major recruiting. I see that they are definitely on me. I feel they are showing strong interest in me.

"The second thing, Tennessee has a good reputation with D-lineman. Coach [Dan] Brooks has a good reputation with D-lineman. I'd love to play for him."

Jones, 6-3, 210, is rated the nation's No. 24 wide receiver. The four-star prospect runs a 4.63 but makes the tough catch and is a true blue collar performer with excellent hands and strength. He can also play defense.

"Dwight is our everything," said Cummings High School coach Jay Purdue. "{If we need someone shut down on defensive like a receiver, you can lock Dwight on him. If we need to stop the run, we can play Dwight at defensive end. If you've got to have him as a tight end, he can play that. And he's got size and speed to play the wide receiver."

A three-year starter and all-region selection as a sophomore, Jones caught 49 passes for 962 yards and eight touchdowns as a junior, averaging 19.6 yards per reception. He visits Clemson after UT and visits North Carolina the next weekend. He will choose from those three schools after also receiving offers from Florida, N.C. State, Virginia and Virginia Tech.

Another wide receiver prospect making his official visit to Tennessee is Travaris Cadet of Miami Central High School. Ranked the nation's No. 62 wideout prospect, Cadet played primarily at quarterback in high school. He has also been offered by Florida, South Florida, North Carolina and Tennessee.


Inside Tennessee Top Stories