Tennessee Volunteers: Offensive Line Must Remain Recruiting Priority

By Patrick Schmidt
Tennessee Volunteers-Neyland Stadium
Randy Sartin – USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Volunteers head coach Butch Jones is putting on a clinic on the recruiting trail, but if there is one area of concern for the Volunteers’ 2014 class, it could be along the offensive line. Currently, the Vols have three commitments from offensive linemen, each of them three-star prospects, but after an unprecedented week of recruiting in Knoxville, four-star tackle Alex Bookser (Pittsburgh, Pa., Mt. Lebanon) could be in play for Jones.

Pittsburgh, Alabama, Ohio State, Michigan State and Northwestern are among the top suitors for the 6-foot-6, 290-pound left tackle, but after his first visit to Tennessee exceeded expectations, they may crack his top five. Bookser has commented on his desire to come back this fall for a second visit with his family and is intrigued by the lure of the SEC, the top-ranked class and has referred to offensive line coach Don Mahoney as a great guy.

Bookser has a great relationship with his position coach, knows he can make an immediate impact as a freshman, and is well aware of the impressive facilities and vast fan base. Those are among the top characteristics that many recruits look for in a prospective school, but Bookser is waiting to take his official visits before narrowing his finalists and making a decision.

When pressed, he said he had no timeframe for a commitment date, so this could be one to watch in the days in advance of signing day in February. The first step is securing an official visit for him, because without that the chase is over, and he potentially could be Tennessee’s top offensive lineman to commit this year.

Offensive line will be a position of emphasis and only seven more open slots for the 2014 class makes it increasingly vital to find at least one or two top-notch offensive lineman to add to this top-ranked class.

Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn., Brighton) could be one of those at guard, but the four-star recruit will be faced with a difficult decision to stay in-state or head to Alabama. I believe Mosley eventually will commit to Tennessee, but they still have plenty of work to do.

While they have momentum on their side for Bookser and Mosley, it looks as if they may lose out on four-star JUCO tackle Dontavius Blair (Garden City C.C) to Auburn, after he named the Tigers his leader after a weekend visit.

After a weekend of commits left VolNation in a state of euphoria, adding two of these offensive linemen would be more important than any of the commits from the past week. Bookser and Mosley could be starters immediately when they set foot on campus, but it’s going to take some effort, and you already know Jones is up to the task.

Patrick’s 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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