Four-star wide receiver Josh Malone (Gallatin, Tenn. Station Camp) should be the highest priority on the Tennessee board as the top uncommitted player in the Volunteer state. Despite having an early to sign him they could lose the wideout to Georgia.
The 6-2.5, 190-pounder picked up his offer from the Bulldogs May. 14 and quickly followed that up with an unofficial visit Jun. 1 that made a favorable impression on 247Sports’ No. 12 receiver recruit. His visit to Athens is not surprising as he is a coveted prospect that has taken a multitude of visits, but it does indicate that perhaps it isn’t a certainty that Malone will call Tennessee home for the next four years.
Georgia wants to sign at least one more wide receiver, and if the ‘Dawgs do not receive a commitment from Cameron Sims (Monroe, La. Ouachita Parish)—which appears likely they won’t—Malone may become their biggest priority at the position. That could turn into an entertaining recruiting war between the two SEC east schools with Vanderbilt looming as the dark horse.
I would still feel confident if I’m Tennessee at the moment, but this is a recruitment that will linger into the winter because Malone is taking a patient approach. Therefore, you can expect Malone to visit plenty of other schools, perhaps even multiple times, but Tennessee is still in the driver’s seat for their top target until further notice.
To remain in the driver’s seat they will have to fend off Georgia – which won’t be easy – but the relationship he has with Jones and offensive assistants Zach Azzanni and Mark Elder will be tough to overcome. If I were to handicap the race I would give Tennessee a 60% chance of landing Malone.
Malone will participate in the 2014 U.S. Army All-American and graduate early to enroll for the spring semester at the school of his choice. He had 28 receptions for 408 yards and five touchdowns last season as a junior.