Tennessee Volunteers’ Summer Recruiting Gains Momentum

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Tennessee Volunteers Recruiting News and Notes

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Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Butch Jones and the Tennessee Volunteers are starting to recapture some momentum on the recruiting trail after jumping out to a hot start for the class of 2014. As the high school season creeps closer for the recruits the Volunteers are pursuing the focus has turned to securing official visits for the fall. In the following slides you will read about some recruits who have committed to visiting Knoxville in an official capacity including one high-profile outside linebacker.

Tennessee currently sits in the No. 5 spot on 247sports class rankings, but that ranking is due for a bump in the next three to four weeks. The Vols have a few commitments along the offensive and defensive lines, but in the SEC you can never have enough depth in the trenches. Two key offensive line targets will be the subject of one of the forthcoming slides with a valuable piece potentially committing by the end of the month. On the defensive side of the ball an in-state product that has been a hot commodity in Tennessee could be down to two teams as he prepares to finalize his decision before his high school season kicks off in August.

The offensive headliner of the Tennessee class is five-star running back Jalen Hurd, but he could be joined by another running back that recently included the Vols in his top three. I'll give you the scoop on the back from Illinois and who the Vols will have to beat to secure his talents.

Finally, it was believed Tennessee was going to pick up a commitment from a cornerback from Miami last week, but I'll tell you why his decision to postpone his decision is actually beneficial for the Vols.

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.

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Building the Offensive Line

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The 2014 offensive line will be radically different than the 2013 version which could be the best in the SEC. The Vols already have a few commitments from offensive linemen for this class, notable Orlando Brown, Jr., but another could soon be joining this class in three-star offensive tackle/guard Ray Raulerson (Tampa, Fla. Plant) who is expected to announce his college in the next two weeks with Tennessee as the leaders.

Another potential future offensive lineman to monitor is 2015 offensive line prospect Dallas Warmack, the younger brother of former Alabama All-American Chance Warmack. He picked up an offer from Tennessee earlier this month and is planning a trip to Knoxville by the end of July.

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Derek Barnett Close to Committing

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Barnett said he could commit by next month and has four schools standing out to him the most with Tennessee, Vanderbilt, Ohio State and Texas A&M in the group along with Ole Miss trying to make a last-ditched effort to get in his top group. Barnett recently visited Vanderbilt and will be at Ole Miss and Tennessee over the course of the next few days.

A recent commitment from Michael Sawyers to Vanderbilt could sway Barnett to the 'Dores who also have commitments from a couple of his friends. I still think Tennessee is the favorite, and with Jones taking over his recruitment that bodes well for the Vols to seal the deal on Aug. 23, his tentative announcement date.

Another defensive line target could be nearing a decision and that's four-star tackle/offensive guard Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn. Brighton) who is one of the state's five-six top prospects and trending in favor of the Vols.

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Nigel Bethel Still Pondering Tennessee?

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Nigel Bethel delayed his plans to commit last week and that bodes well for Tennessee in the pursuit of three-star cornerback form Miami. The Miami Hurricanes are viewed as the overwhelming favorite for the 5-foor-9 corner with Tennessee, Florida State and Kentucky lurking in the background.

Had Bethel announced his college plans last week I am certain Miami would have been the pick, so postponing the decision is good because now Tennessee will get Bethel on campus for at least one visit. The lure of the SEC seems appealing to Bethel, and if he wants to play in the premier conference in college, then it will be at Tennessee where he is already getting the red carpet treatment from fans on social media.

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Finding Jalen Hurd's Understudy

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee already has commitments from five-star running back Jalen Hurd and three-star back Treyvon Paulk, but a third back could join the class in Chris James. The three-star back out of Niles, Illinois visited in June and is planning on taking an official to Knoxville this season. The 5-foot-10, 205-pound back has great size and speed having been timed at 4.4 in the 40 and ran for 2,100 yards and 32 touchdowns as a junior.

Michigan State and Pittsburgh are the two biggest competitors in the chase for one of the more underrated backs in the class of 2014.

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Connor Brewer Interested in Tennessee?

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Brewer is leaving Texas and is free to transfer anywhere he likes. One of the first schools to contact the former four-star recruit was Tennessee. The Vols are without a quarterback commitment for this class after inking two freshmen in the previous cycle, so perhaps Brewer is the quarterback the Vols will look to make a future impact in 2015 and beyond.

Alabama, Notre Dame, Louisville and Vanderbilt are among Brewer's pursuers. He hopes to narrow his list down and visit the schools he wants to gain more information on in the coming days and weeks. He chose Texas over Alabama initially, so the Tide have to be the early favorite at this point, but if he decided to visit Tennessee, the race could become wide open.

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Clifton Garrett Locks in Official Visit

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Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Clifton Garrett is the number one ranked outside linebacker in the country and locked in his official visit to Tennessee for the Oct. 5 game vs. Georgia. He previously said Tennessee is his number two school behind LSU so this visit will be vital to their chances of pulling the upset and closing the gap on LSU. Also of note is Garrett's official visit to Florida will be when they host the Vols, so they will in effect get two chances to make an impact on him.

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