Tennessee's Recruiting Magic to Continue with 5-Star OT David Sharpe?

By Patrick Schmidt
David Sharpe
Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee will literally host one of the biggest recruits in the nation this weekend in the form of 6-foot-8, 300-pound offensive tackle David Sharpe (Jacksonville, Fla. Providence) when they host Auburn.

The five-star tackle has been linked to fellow SEC programs in Florida and Georgia who were thought to hold a substantial lead for the No. 2 tackle according to 247Sports. My initial prediction for Sharpe had him staying in-state to play for the Gators and then switched to the Bulldogs after his second visit to Athens this fall.

Furthermore, his father had favorable comments about Georgia coach, Mark Richt, but the younger Sharpe says he has no leaders according to RecruitingNation’s Derek Tyson.

“I like Georgia,” Sharpe said. “I don’t have any leaders right now, though. I’m still open. I still want to visit some more.”

Tennessee earned a visit in part because of the hype surrounding the 2014 class Butch Jones and his staff has assembled that saw its No. 2 ranking according to 247Sports solidified after the commitments of Evan and Elliott Berry Monday.

“I want to see what everyone’s talking about,” Sharpe tells Thomas Goldkamp of the Volunteers. “Maybe after I visit, it’ll change my perspective on them.”

Tennessee has work to do before they can work their way into the mix for Sharpe, but offering early playing time—a big deal for Sharpe who doesn’t want to redshirt—could put the Vols in a good spot. The Vols are expected to lose all five starting offensive linemen with four seniors on the line and junior Antonio Richardson, a potential first round pick, expected to declare for the NFL Draft.

The second sales pitch won’t have anything to do with football at all as Sharpe plans to give basketball a shot as a freshman, so Tennessee head coach Cuonzo Martin will meet with Sharpe on his visit and sell him on the program too.

Sharpe has the look of a prototype left tackle with his length, frame and athleticism, and being coached up by former All-Pro Tony Boselli has refined his technique in pass and run blocking.

Wherever he goes — and keep an eye open for Florida State and LSU in addition to Florida and Georgia — he likely will be an instant impact performer.

In some ways Sharpe’s recruitment reminds me of Laremy Tunsil who was the top tackle in the 2013 class and was believed to be heading to Georgia or Alabama weeks prior to National Signing Day. However, he took a visit to Ole Miss and fell in love with the school and ended up committing to the Rebels where he’s starting as a freshman.

Could Georgia experience a case of déjà vu with Sharpe?

A commitment from Sharpe wouldn’t be a home run for Jones it would be an absolute grand slam. Depending on how the visit goes I may have to rethink my prediction for Sharpe because Jones and Tennessee have the magic touch with recruits this year.

Patrick’s a college football writer for Rant Sports and radio host on Sportstownchicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @PatrickASchmidt and Google and email him at SchmidtPatrick@gmail.com for media inquiries.

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