After a tumultuous two months for Tennessee Volunteers fans, the rebuilding process began today with the signing of highly touted defensive high school standout Greg Emerson.
Greg Emerson Signs With Tennessee
Lawless holds offers from all of the major programs in the nation, including Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, and Clemson. Emerson has been a hard commit to Tennessee since July of this year. He never gave any indications that his commitment was in jeopardy during the unsightly coaching change. Much like fellow early signee Brant Lawless, he is the exact type of recruit that early signing period benefits.
Tale of the Tape
Emerson is a solid building block for new head coach Jeremy Pruitt to build his defense around. Emerson is 6’3″, 280 and still has a lean frame for his size. He primarily plays at the end position, but can be effective lined up at defensive tackle. He’s still fairly unrefined technique-wise, but clearly has raw talent.
Lawless is one of the top 100-ranked recruits in the nation (#84) by industry composite 247Sports.com. He’s ranked as the third-highest recruit in the state of Tennessee and seventh-ranked defensive tackle in the nation. Emerson is a U.S. Army All-American and will be playing in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio in January. He’s one of three four-star recruits Tennessee will sign in the early signing period.
Emerson expects to be an early enrollee and will benefit tremendously from the extra time in Knoxville. With his athleticism and build, he’ll likely make it into the defensive front rotation early in his career. Pruitt will push Emerson to get stronger in the weight room, but he’s a great fit for a Jeremy Pruitt defense. His strength is lacking behind his athleticism and speed at this point.
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. Emerson will likely play a bigger role in the Vols’ pass rush, however. Tennessee’s pass rush was ineffective this season as well, with Tennessee finishing second-to-last in the SEC with 22 total sacks on the season. Emerson will join Phillips, Kongbo, Quay Picou, Darrell Taylor, and Deandre Johnson trying to improve Tennessee’s rush.
In addition to Emerson, Tennessee will also sign Brant Lawless, from Nashville, today. While Emerson will likely play at end, Lawless will likely complement him at defensive tackle. These two four-star defensive linemen will make the core of Pruitt’s first recruiting class at Tennessee.
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 Emerson and 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. Both Emerson and Lawless should play a major role in the defensive trenches over his next few years in Knoxville.
See Also: Tennessee Signs Brant Lawless
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