Stop me if you’ve heard this before, but Tennessee has once again got some momentum on the recruiting trail, and this time with junior college defensive lineman DaVonte Lambert, who is announcing his decision on Aug. 13.
This is a sudden turn of events because prior to Thursday evening, none of the crystal ball predictions on 247Sports had him selecting Tennessee. During my weekly appearance on Tennessee Sports Radio on Tuesday, I was asked the chances Tennessee had at landing Lambert and gave them a 40% chance, which I thought was optimistic at the time.
I abstained from making my official crystal ball prediction on 247Sports until today, when I picked Tennessee. I am not alone, as Butch Jones’ team is leading with 55 percent, including the last 11 predictions coming in favor of the Volunteers over the last 18 hours.
Also working in favor of Tennessee is Lambert’s fondness for defensive line coach Steve Stripling, and his early connection with the coaching staff and players that he further developed on his Jul. 21 visit to Knoxville for Foundation Day.
“Tennessee, the facilities and the coaches’ and the players’ bonds are just phenomenal,” Lambert tells Ryan Callahan. “I just feel like, if I was to go there, it would be perfect because he’s (Stripling) going to help me in the long run with all my techniques and everything.”
The 6-foot-3, 275-pound Lambert is the top-ranked defensive end in the 247Sports composite rankings, and the Georgia Military College product fills a void at a position of need for the Volunteers. Tennessee loses six senior on the defensive linemen after this season, and the opportunity for early playing time appealed to Lambert, who should play a big role next season.
Lambert would be the second defensive lineman to commit, joining four-star end Joe Henderson (Cleveland, Ohio. Shaker Heights), but he likely won’t be the last. Tennessee leads for four-star tackle Charles Mosley (Brighton, Tenn. Brighton) and four-star ends Derek Barnett (Nashville, Tenn. Brentwood Academy) and Dewayne Hendrix (O’Fallon, Ill. O’Fallon).
Tennessee certainly has done well in the final stages of Lambert’s recruitment and if this is any indication how Jones’ team will play on the field, the Vols should be a team that fights until the final whistle.
Many had counted out Tennessee for Lambert last week, but the one thing I’ve learned about this Jones-led team is you can never count them out for any recruit. When Lambert announces on Tuesday, you can expect him to be the next “brick” to fall for Jones and Tennessee