The Tennessee Volunteers currently hold the No.1 ranking for the 2014 high school recruiting class according to Rivals.com. The Vols have 25 commitments and could end with a total of 30 scholarship offers, as early enrollees may account for unused scholarships during the 2013 class.
While the Vols have already locked up some of the top-ranked talent within their home state, two Georgia prospects have always been on Tennessee fans’ minds.
Creekside High School athletes Evan and Elliot Berry have been a topic of discussion amongst Volunteer fans for years. Their ties to the Tennessee football program began with their father James, who played running back for the Vols from 1978-81.
However, their older brother Eric Berry may be the most celebrated athlete of the Berry clan amongst the UT fan base. The former Thorpe Award winner enjoyed a stellar tenure at Tennessee from 2007-09, which included a consensus All-American nomination and saw him finish as the Vols’ all-time leader in interception return yards.
The younger Berrys first gained buzz among the Volunteer faithful during a 2009 interview. When asked which schools caught their interest, Evan noted that he was unofficially committed to Tennessee.
Vol fans were overjoyed with the idea of two players named Berry lining up on the same field, especially during their brother’s last season in Knoxville. However, the twins have failed to commit to a growing class that is quickly running out of scholarships.
Despite Tennessee already landing 12 four-star players, the three-star prospects may be the two most important recruits from a sentimental view among Vol fans.
Eric Berry is one of the most popular players in recent memory. Both he and his father have left everlasting memories on a fan base that will be heartbroken to see the younger brothers in any colors but orange and white.
The 2014 class has been dubbed the “Legacy class,” with commitments from second-generation Vols such as Dillon Bates, Neiko Creamer and Todd Kelly Jr. The Berrys have an opportunity to join this group and restore the once-proud program to the SEC championship team their father was a part of.
However, Tennessee fans are aware that sometimes players choose to create their own legacy. Peyton Manning, quite possibly the most beloved player in Tennessee football history, was expected to follow his father Archie‘s path to Ole Miss. Instead, he opted to join the Volunteers and remains the only Manning son not to attend Mississippi.
Tennessee fans have already been satisfied with a surprisingly impressive recruiting class during Butch Jones‘ first season. However, finishing the class with both Evan and Elliot Berry will be one of the most important factors in the eyes of many Volunteer fans.