5 Candidates to be Tennessee Volunteers’ Next Commitment

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Who Will be the Next Brick in Butch Jones' Rebuilding Job at Tennessee?

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

I can’t recall a situation like the one in Tennessee where Butch Jones has endeared himself to the team’s fan base as much as he has without even coaching in a regular season game. Jones has the Volunteers trending in the right direction after the forgettable Derek Dooley era and regrettable Lane Kiffin fiasco, and has assembled the No. 4 recruiting class according to 247Sports.com.

It seems as if someone is committing to Tennessee every week and last week was no exception as No. 2 ranked kicker Aaron Medley (Lewisburg, Tenn. Marshall County) pledged his allegiance to the Volunteers. It was anticipated another would join the class in Dominique Booth (Indianapolis, In. Pike) who was scheduled to announce his college choice last Friday, but his announcement was postponed and no decision is imminent. It was anticipated he would be committing to Tennessee.

However, I have outlined five targets that have Tennessee at the top of their list of schools and who could be committing to Jones and become the next brick in his rebuilding plan in Knoxville. To be clear, if a player is not listed it does not mean that player is not coming to Tennessee, but rather his decision may not happen until the fall or until national signing day. For example, I omitted some highly ranked recruits who I believe will ultimately commit to Tennessee, but their decision isn’t going to come as soon as the players I included.

With “VolNation” waiting in suspense to see who will be the next to join the family, I present to you five players that could be the next committing in the near future.

Patrick is a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter and add him to your Google network.

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RaShaan Gaulden-Safety

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Gaulden is a three-star safety form Spring Hill, Tenn and the No. 11 ranked recruit in the state. He has been a frequent visitor to Tennessee, having visited for the team's Junior Day Feb. 13, took an unofficial visit Mar. 18 and was in attendance for the Vols spring game Apr. 20. He has great instincts and is an underrated prospect who also holds offers from Vanderbilt, South Carolina and Nebraska.

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Derek Barnett-DE

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Barnett is a 6'3.5'', 265-pound defensive end from Brentwood, Tenn and a four-star recruit according to 247Sports. Barnett has Tennessee at the top of his list of schools along with Vanderbilt and Ohio State. He is the No. 7 recruit in the state and visited Tennessee for the spring game.

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Kevin Mouhon-ILB

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Mouhon is a 6'2'', 225-pound inside linebacker from powerhouse Norcross High School in Norcross, Ga., and is the No. 6 ranked player at his position. Tennessee has a big lead for the four-star recruit after he took in the Vols' spring game in April. He could make an instant impact as a freshman in Knoxville.

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D.J. Smith-CB

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Smith is a 4-star cornerback from Marietta, Ga. and a consensus four-star recruit. Tennessee offered Smith on national signing day this year and he attended the Vols' junior day the following week, and has developed a good relationship with secondary coach Willie Martinez. He is being pursued by Clemson and the top teams in the SEC East.

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Dewayne Hendrix-DE

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Hendrix possesses excellent size for a defensive end at 6'5'' and 255-pounds and the four-star recruit out of O'Fallon, Ill has been a rising star in recent months. He attended the team's Junior Day and visited Tennessee for the spring game, which has elevated the Vols to the top of his list of schools. Florida and Ole Miss may be the biggest challengers for Hendrix, but Tennessee has a sizable lead.

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