An Inside look at Crowder and Downs

BRISTOL, TENN. - Tennessee picked up two huge commitments from in-state athletes Friday afternoon, proving that Derek Dooley is making recruiting Volunteer State athletes a priority this season. Go "Inside" to get our take on the two newest commitments.

Derek Dooley has made a commitment and priority to recruit his home state for the University of Tennessee.

This was apparent Friday afternoon when Bristol, Tenn., teammates Brendan Downs and Mack Crowder made their intentions known publically.

"I have been going to games at Neyland Stadium forever," Downs said during a one-on-one interview with "The opportunity to live my dream was too much to pass up."

Both young men showed a desire and passion to play for the Orange and White.

"My first thought was to get the best education possible," Crowder said. "The more I explored my academic opportunities, I realized I could accomplish that at the University of Tennessee."

Crowder had considered Vanderbilt and other top academic institutions, but discovered that Tennessee had great academics, also.

"When I got the chance to visit with the academic counselors I realized I could play great football and get a great education at the same time," he said.


Good size, he is at least 6-foot-4, 265-pounds, and has good feet. His size and intelligence make him the perfect candidate for center at the next level.

After watching him play Friday morning, this recruiting analyst feels that Crowder has tremendous upside but needs to get stronger in his upper body for the next level.

Crowder made his intentions clear Friday that he plans on enrolling early at Tennessee in January and will go through an entire spring off season. This will be very beneficial for the standout lineman.

Crowder also showed a mean streak on the field. He is very aggressive, which is a good trait to have on the offensive side of the ball.

Crowder is rated as the No. 7 overall center in the nation and is currently ranked as a three-star prospect.

Everyone already realizes how much Derek Dooley loves athletic tight ends.

Downs meets these criteria.

At 6-foot-6 and 235 pounds the talented tight end possesses some uncanny athletic ability.

"He can jump out of the gym," Tennessee High School Coach Greg Stubbs said. "He is an outstanding athlete that still has a lot of room to grow even bigger."


Bigger than I expected him to be, very athletic and has the body frame to get a lot bigger at the next level.

Very intelligent scored over a 30 on his ACT test.

He scored on a 65-yard play Friday morning and ran away from the field of play. He has deceptive speed, great hands and is going to be the steal of this recruiting class when all is said and done.

Downs is currently ranked as the 38th tight end in the nation. I think you will see him move up this list before signing day. He is rated as a three-star prospect.

Inside Tennessee Top Stories