The addition of college football’s early signing period has added even more craziness to the whirlwind past six weeks for Tennessee Volunteers football. In the midst of coaching changes, behind-the-scenes politics, and recruiting de-commitments, one of the only steady pieces of the Vols future has been four-star prospect Brant Lawless.
Brant Lawless Signs With Tennessee
Lawless holds offers from all of the major programs in the nation, including Alabama, Ohio State, and Oklahoma. But the Nashville native never really considered any other school. That’s saying something, with all of the drama surrounding the departure of former Vols Head Coach Butch Jones and the subsequent botched coaching search. Lawless is the exception to the rule in this era of recruits being tied more to coaches and staffs than to schools.
He’s stated multiple times through his social media accounts that he’s committed to the school, not to the coach. He is the perfect example of a recruit that benefits from the early signing period.
Im excited to say GO VOLS🍊I’m officially committed!! pic.twitter.com/rCJAbLrvLm
— brant lawless (@brant_lawless) May 1, 2017
Tale of the Tape
And for Jeremy Pruitt, Tennessee’s new head coach, he’s just fine with that. Lawless is 6’3″, 285 pounds and will benefit greatly once he gets to Tennessee. While the Nashville area is one of the emerging areas for top high school talent, Lawless has made his name at the 200-person Nashville Christian School (NCS). Once he gets into Tennessee’s facilities, he’ll develop more size and strength quickly.
Lawless, a four-star prospect according to the 247Sports.Com industry composite, was a Mr. Football award winner last season in the state of Tennessee. He’s the eighth-ranked prospect in the state of Tennessee, 21st nationally at his position, and 254th ranked overall recruit in the nation. Lawless is one of three top-300 national recruits Tennessee is expected to sign in the early signing period.
Lawless will bring an immediate presence to one of Tennessee’s many weaknesses: the defense front. Lawless has dominated the line of scrimmage in his high school career, with 32 total tackles-for-loss. Tennessee has recruited highly-ranked talent on the defense line over the past three years. But injury and disappointment have followed after the hype has worn off. He’ll join previous four- and five- star recruits Reginald McKenzie, Jr., Kyle Phillips, Jonathan Kongbo, and Shy Tuttle along a defensive front that ranked dead last in rushing defense in the SEC this season. Tennessee gave up an average of 251 yards of rushing per game.
In addition to Lawless, Tennessee will also sign Greg Emerson, from Jackson, TN, today. Emerson will also play on the defensive front. While Lawless is more of a traditional, three technique tackle, Emerson has the athleticism to play tackle or end, much like Kongbo.
The Road To Recovery
After a botched coaching search that saw a national media backlash and the dismissal of an Athletic Director, Tennessee’s once promising 2018 recruiting class feel apart. But today’s addition of Lawless is a good start to the Jeremy Pruitt recruiting effort. The SEC has is a conference won and lost at the line of scrimmage. Lawless should play a major role in the defensive trenches over his next few years in Knoxville.