There hasn’t been a lot of good news for Tennessee Volunteers fans over the past few months. But the early signing period has shown that there is still some power in the Power T. After watching a top-five nationally ranked recruiting class completely fall apart after the firing of Butch Jones and subsequent coaching search fiasco, new head coach Jeremy Pruitt landed a commitment and subsequent National Letter of Intent (NLI) from four-star offensive tackle prospect Jerome Carvin.
Jerome Carvin Signs With Tennessee
Carvin was thought to be headed to Mississippi State. With Dan Mullen’s move to Florida, the Gators were also in the running. But with the departure of Mullen and Pruitt conducting an in-home visit just eight days ago, the massive offensive linemen decided to go east to Knoxville.
Tale of the Tape
Carvin will come to Knoxville with many of the same attributes as defensive tackle Reginald McKenzie, Jr. He’s massive for a high school athlete, at 6’4″, 330 pounds. He’ll likely have to transform his frame to a stronger, more powerful body type, much the same way McKenzie did. Also similar to McKenzie, he’s coming in with loads of natural strength, but he’ll have to focus on his techniques once he arrives in Knoxville.
Carvin is rated as a four-star recruit by the industry composite 247Sports.Com. He’s rated as the 11th-ranked prospect in the state of Tennessee and 365th overall prospect nationally. That gives head coach Jeremy Pruitt–with no existing Tennessee ties–five of the top 13 recruits in the state of Tennessee. While that isn’t where Tennessee fans want to be (Cade Mays, Master Teague and Camron Johnson are all Tennessee prep players that Vols fans wanted in Knoxville), it isn’t quite the in-state collapse that was looming last week.
Carvin is from Cordova High School in Memphis. Tennessee has historically had a difficult time recruiting in Memphis, for a myriad of reasons. The highly followed recruitment of Drew Richmond two years ago was a positive sign of progress in the Bluff City. Pruitt’s ability to go into Memphis to Carvin and teammate Jeremy Banks (Running Back) is a very positive sign for the future of Tennessee recruiting. Pruitt will have to work on locking the Knoxville and Middle Tennessee areas, but that will be a much easier task than making headway into Memphis.
Tennessee’s offensive line, while talented, suffered mightily this season. Tennessee was second-to-last in rushing offense this season (117 yards/game) and sacks allowed (2.92 per game). They were decimated by injury, starting a different combination on the offensive line seemingly every game this season. Larger and taller offensive tackles, like Carvin, fit perfectly in an offense that is expected to be a more pro-style offense. That should free up freshman All-American Trey Smith to focus at guard.
Tennessee fans aren’t going to be pleased with the overall recruiting class. The botched coaching search and Pruitt’s dual-job commitments will limit the potential of this class. But going into Memphis and flipping Carvin from Mississippi State isn’t an inconsequential event. It shows that Tennessee is still very much alive with some of the top recruits nationally.