Tennessee remains in the driver’s seat to land Junior College wide-receiver Eric Lauderdale (Mission Viejo, Ca.), but Arizona State, Arkansas, Wisconsin and Miami among others remain in the picture for the product from Saddleback College. However, those programs can’t hold a candle to the recruiting pitch that Tennessee can sell to the 6-2, 195-pound dynamo.
Lauderdale has been a name familiar with Tennessee fans dating back to last month when the Volunteers were the second to offer him on Apr. 8, and he could follow the same path of former Tennessee receiver Cordarrelle Patterson and go from JUCO star to Tennessee standout.
My prediction is Butch Jones continues his stellar work on the recruiting trail and secures a commitment from Lauderdale and adds him to a loaded Tennessee class with a top-five ranking according to 247sports.com. He’s playing it coy as he should and not trying to tip his hand too much like a good poker player, but I’m going all-in with my prediction he ends up in Knoxville.
Lauderdale said via twitter that he is considering taking one official visit this summer and that Tennessee is sending him the most letters. Lauderdale said that is a good thing, so one can connect the dots and see the Vols are looking as if they will be the host for the dangerous playmaker. A commitment may not happen until the visit, but it’s only an inevitability at this juncture.
The lure of “Wide Receiver U” will be too significant for Lauderdale to overturn. The track record Saddleback players have at moving to the FBS level bodes well for him to make an instant impact. Offensive linemen Kyle Long and Menelik Watson were teammates at Saddleback and were first and second round picks, respectively, in the 2013 draft.
Lauderdale plans to graduate in December and will have three years to play two seasons in college. He is coming off a 60-catch season for 916 yards and seven touchdowns. If things go as I think they will, he will be catching passes from Josh Dobbs for a couple of seasons in Knoxville.
After that, perhaps he does what Patterson did and earns a spot in the first round of the NFL Draft and is the latest product of “Wide Receiver U.”