DaVonte Lambert‘s (Georgia Military College) commitment to Tennessee over Florida and Auburn gives the Volunteers the top-rated junior college defensive end, but most importantly gives Butch Jones’ team a player it desperately wanted at a position of need.
Tennessee has had tremendous success thus far on the recruiting trail and has been ranked as high as No. 1 this summer. But with six seniors leaving this team after the 2013 season, the defensive line has been the primary focus.
The opportunity for immediate playing time was an important factor in Lambert’s decision, and he could earn a starting spot at end and could potentially be kicked inside as a nickel rusher from the defensive tackle spot. At 6-foot-3, 275-pounds, he is stout at the point of attack and uses his hands well to beat offensive tackles. Once he beats the lineman, he has a good burst to close on the quarterback or running back.
Lambert’s visit to Tennessee for ‘Foundation Day” on July 21 began to sway momentum in favor of the Vols, who trailed Florida, Auburn and Georgia. After that day, he was sold on being a part of the Tennessee family.
His relationship with defensive line coach Steve Stripling and his primary recruiter Willie Martinez ultimately won him over. The decision wasn’t finalized until today, but it was his visit last month to Tennessee that effectively sealed the deal.
Lambert is not the team’s highest-rated commit or the most coveted, as those distinctions go to Jalen Hurd (Hendersonville, Tenn. Beech) and probably Dillon Bates (Ponte Vedra Beach, Fla. Ponte Vedra) respectively. However, he could be the most important. Getting commitments from top recruits at wide receiver, linebacker and in the secondary like Tennessee has done are great, but if you want to win and win consistently in the SEC, it all starts in the trenches.
Tennessee got much better today with the addition of Lambert, who is the second defensive lineman to commit, joining four-star end Joe Henderson (Cleveland, Ohio. Shaker Heights). Lambert won’t be the last defensive lineman to commit to Tennessee, as it 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).
Lambert’s commitment to Tennessee moves the Vols back into the top three classes according to 247Sports, and they have seven spots left to fill.