Thursday, January 31, 2013

0 Predictions on Tennessee’s top remaining targets


By Shaee Flatt

National Signing Day is now just one week away. Rumors are everywhere, and swirling in a million directions. However, I think I’ve got a pretty good idea of what will happen with Tennessee’s top remaining targets. There will be joy, there will be disappointment, but overall, I expect Tennessee and Head Coach Butch Jones to finish pretty strongly. In addition to the names below, I also think Tennessee will sign QB Josh Dobbs, DL Jaylen Miller, and JUCO OL Chongo Kondolo. National Signing Day is one of my favorite days of the year, because of all the surprises, but for y’all I’m about to ruin all of the surprises. So without further adieu, here is where UT’s top targets will sign next Wednesday.

DE Carl Lawson: Auburn: A five star on both Rivals and 247, Lawson is the number one target for the Vols. UT has been considered the favorite for a couple of weeks now, especially after his OV two weekends ago. Lawson is said to be down to Tennessee, Auburn, and Clemson, but I personally think that Clemson is out. It seems he enjoyed his Tennessee visit much more, and it was more recent, which really matters. ESPN’s Mike Farrell is predicting that Lawson ends up becoming a Vol. Recently though, Auburn has gained a lot of momentum with Lawson. He will take a visit to Auburn this weekend, just days before National Signing Day. I think the visit will be too much for the Vols to overcome, especially since Coach Jones has already used his in home.

S/CB Vonn Bell: Tennessee: Bell is also a five star on both Rivals and 247. His performance in the UA All American game was spectacular. He has the speed, and skills that Tennessee desperately needs in its’ secondary. Bell grew up a Vols fan but for a while, it seemed like Alabama was the favorite in his recruitment. Bell visited Ohio State and Alabama before visiting Tennessee this past weekend. According to all reports, Bell loved the visit, and rumors say that Bell has already silently committed to the Vols coaching staff. The momentum is all there, he and his family have always loved Tennessee, and I would be surprised if Bell doesn’t sign with Tennessee on National Signing Day.

OLB E.J Levenberry: Tennessee: Levenberry is currently committed to Florida State, but has been trying to get to Knoxville for weeks now. He says that he will come down early this weekend to avoid any bad weather over the weekend if he has to. He was once quoted to saying that Tennessee has the best game day feel that he has ever experienced, he loved his visit to Knoxville during the LSU game in 2011. Levenberry has also expressed his displeasure with Florida State hiring Sal Sunseri as an assistant this off-season. If Levenberry makes it to Knoxville this weekend, which I think he will, he’ll sign with Tennessee on National Signing Day.

DE Davin Bellamy: Georgia: Bellamy de-committed from Florida State yesterday and Georgia and Tennessee, in that order, are his quoted top two teams. He will also visit Oregon this weekend, as they to steal Bellamy from the SEC at the last minute. I think they’re too late, and too far from home. Bellamy will be a Dawg or a Vol. Tennessee’s best chance here is that other recruits persuade him to join them at Tennessee. Coach Jones has already used his in home, and they’ll only be able to talk through phone calls from here on out. Georgia leading this late is too much for the Vols to overcome.

RB Johnathan Ford: Auburn: Ford was long committed to James Franklin at Vanderbilt but after his recruitment blew up with late offers, he dropped the Commodores. I think this comes down to Tennessee and Auburn, but it seems like Ford has always been waiting for an Auburn offer. He’s from Alabama and many say he actually grew up an Auburn fan. This kid will be a Tiger, which is a huge blow to Tennessee. After losing Derrick Green to Michigan, they really needed Ford in order to sign a good back this cycle. Now, it doesn’t appear they will.

LB Trey Johnson: Ohio State: This one may be the toughest one to call. For a long time it seemed like Johnson was just in love with Urban Meyer, and that the Buckeyes were a lock for his services. So it wasn’t a surprise when Johnson committed to Ohio State during the UA All American game. Johnson grew close to UT cornerbacks coach Tommy Thigpin while he was at Auburn though, and last weekend, Johnson tried to take a secret visit to Knoxville. Friday rumors started swirling about Johnson being in Knoxville, but he quickly shot them down. No one was able to confirm the rumors until Sunday when his dad admitted that he was in Knoxville, but that it was just a courtesy visit. That’s BS, plain and simple. There are no courtesy visits this late in the game. He’s clearly interested in Tennessee, and the fact that he tried to hide the visit is very interesting. I’m hoping Thigpin can pull a miracle here, because Johnson would be a huge get, but I don’t see UT overcoming Ohio State in the end. I think he sticks.

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