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NCAA Football SEC FootballTennessee Volunteers

Tennessee Volunteers to Host 5-Star OLB Clifton Garrett

Butch Jones Tennessee Vols

Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Although LSU is viewed as the front-runner for five-star recruit Clifton Garrett (Plainfield, Ill. Plainfield South), the impressive recruiting class being assembled at Tennessee has the Volunteers making a significant push for the top outside linebacker.

Garrett is the top outside linebacker in his class according to 247Sports and the 6-3, 228-pound linebacker is scheduling a visit to Tennessee before summer ends to check out the checkerboard end zones and meet with head coach Butch Jones.

Garrett has interest from fellow SEC schools Alabama, Ole Miss and Florida who previously have hosted him, but Steve Wilfong of 247Sports writes that he’s hearing Tennessee is the biggest threat to LSU in the pursuit of Garrett. That news is a shocking revelation in the recruiting world because Tennessee wasn’t viewed as a legitimate option for Garrett early in his process.

The strength of the Vols’ recruiting class that recently ranked as the top class in the nation has caught the attention of Garrett and has prompted him to at least give them an unofficial visit as he looks to hold off on making a decision until the U.S. Army All-American Game.

Currently, I believe LSU is the prohibitive favorite to land the athletic and instinctive tackling machine, but crazier things have happened on the recruiting trail and recruits have been known to be completely awed on visits in the past. Can Tennessee impress enough between now and the end of summer to close the gap on the Tigers?

That is the million-dollar question, but based on what Jones and his staff have done on the recruiting trail during their short time on the job, I’m certainly not going to rule them out.

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