Vols welcome six signees, more commits to come

A look at the commitments and some of the top talent Tennessee hopes to land Wednesday.

First-year head coach Jeremy Pruitt welcomed six official signees to the Tennessee football program Wednesday afternoon.

UT has confirmed the signings of Emmit Gooden, Kurott Garland, JJ Peterson, Trevon Flowers, John Mincey, and Cedric Tillman. The Vols are also expected to sign Brandon Davis and Joseph Norwood.

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Tennessee signed 14 players during the first-ever early signing period in December 2017. The recruiting class was at one point ranked as high as 16th in the nation.

Original article: Below is a list of known Tennessee commitments and targets who expect to sign Wednesday.

We will update this article frequently throughout the day.

UPDATE: - 6:13 p.m. - Defensive back target Isaac Taylor-Stuart picks USC over the Vols. Regarded as a top-50 player in the signing class, Taylor-Stuart visited Tennessee this month. He’d long been projected to go to USC, his hometown team.

Defensive back target Taiyon Palmer also chose his school, North Carolina State.

UPDATE: - 5:40 p.m. - Reports say Joseph Norwood will likely "blueshirt;" the in-state defensive back can enroll at Tennessee and participate in team activities, but his scholarship would count towards next year's class. The same situation has been rumored for defensive back Brandon Davis, another UT commit. The Vols have two scholarships remaining for their 2018 class, and likely will want to address different needs with those open spots.

UPDATE: - 4:45 p.m. - Jeremy Pruitt met with the media to discuss the signings he could confirm this evening. Watch here or below:

UPDATE: - 3:56 p.m. - Four-star juco defensive tackle Emmit Gooden announces he will be a Vol. A nice pickup for Tennessee's defensive front.

UPDATE - 3:44 p.m. - Tennessee confirms the signing of Kurott Garland. The defensive lineman was teammates with former UT commit Jordan Young - who transferred to FSU today - at Heritage High School in Conyers, Ga.

UPDATE - 2:34 p.m. - Four-star wide receiver Jacob Copeland picks Florida over the Vols and Alabama.

ANALYSIS: Should've seen this one coming. Copeland reportedly has a great rapport with Vols coach Jeremy Pruitt, but hinted at staying in the state of Florida on Twitter leading up to his signing.

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Copeland had de-committed from the Gators in November, which opened the door potentially to be a Vol. It was not meant to be.

UPDATE: - 2:27 p.m. - Defensive back Brandon Davis honors his commitment to UT and signs.

ANALYSIS: Tennessee was the first Power Five program to offer Davis a scholarship, and the defensive back pounced at the chance to wear orange and white.

VFL and current Tennessee defensive backs coach Terry Fair knew Davis from recruiting him at Colorado State, and helped reel in the first of likely several defensive backs in the 2018 class.


UPDATE: - 1:30 p.m. - 5-star defensive back Olaijah Griffin announces live on ESPN2 he's signing with Southern California.

ANALYSIS: Griffin said in late December the Vols were front-runners to land him after he de-committed from UCLA. However, he said during his decision that he always had a love for USC.

The possibility of immediate playing time likely enticed Griffin to give Tennessee a fair shot; but in the end, he'll stay home.

UPDATE: - 1:26 p.m. - Four-star linebacker JJ Peterson of Moultrie, Ga. honors his commitment and signs with the Vols.

ANALYSIS: Jeremy Pruitt had been targeting the elite linebacker prospect while at his old post with the Alabama Crimson Tide. Pruitt and Peterson’s relationship dates even further back to when Pruitt was calling the defense at Georgia under then-head coach Mark Richt.

Peterson decided to join forces with the former defensive coordinator at Tennessee, making an announcement live on WBIR at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in January.

His former teammates, defensive lineman Ja’Quain Blakely and defensive back Shawn Shamburger, have both seen modest playing time on Rocky Top. Peterson said they were instrumental in convincing him to come to UT.

The four-star linebacker was projected as the third-best outside linebacker prospect in the nation in the 247Sports composite, and the seventh-best prospect in the state of Georgia.

UPDATE: - 1:12 p.m. - Four-star wide receiver Jordan Young flips from the Vols to Florida State.

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ANALYSIS: This one hurts for Vol fans.

Tennessee loses a humble, hungry wide receiver commit from the Atlanta area.

A true “diamond in the rough” story, Young ascended to prized prospect status almost overnight. In a relatively short span of time, Vols coaches Tracy Rocker and Tyson Helton discovered the wide receiver from the Atlanta area. Young then got an offer from Tennessee in mid-January, his first from a Division I program. 247Sports pegged the unknown player as a four-star prospect.

The 'Noles became a factor late in the game, as they did with Anthony Grant. Young took his official visit there this past weekend.

He could have very well been the crown jewel, the steal of this class.

UPDATE: - 12:31 p.m. - Three-star defensive tackle Otito Ogbonnia says he's signing with UCLA. The Katy, Texas native was a late target for the Vols. Bummer that Tennessee missed out on the six-foot-six, 300-pound lineman; the signing of Mincey earlier in the day makes it hurt a little less. Tennessee is also pursuing Kurott Garland, a teammate of Vols commit Jordan Young.

UPDATE: - 11:48 a.m. Five-star linebacker and Alabama commitment Quay Walker flipped to Georgia, after a fake out where he picked up the Tennessee hat, acted like he was going to put it on, then threw it off the stage. That move will not endear him to Vol fans!


UPDATE: - 10:50 a.m. : Four-star defensive back Joseph Norwood has reportedly committed to Tennessee.

UPDATE: - 10:39 a.m. : The Vols announce they've signed three-star wide receiver Cedric Tillman.

UPDATE: - 10:20 a.m. : Dual-sport athlete Trevon Flowers has signed with Tennessee. He's a three-star safety prospect who was also considering Clemson.

UPDATE: - 10:05 a.m. : The first signee of the day! Three-star defensive end John Mincey picks Tennessee over South Carolina.

UPDATE: - 9:46 a.m. : The Vols made a late push for former Florida Gators commit Eddie Gammage, but the three-star wide receiver prospect chose Marshall instead.

UPDATE: - 9:34 a.m. : Another Tennessee target off the board. Defensive back Eddie Smith was one of Coach Jeremy Pruitt's targets at a priority position. The three-star prospect has decided to go to Alabama.

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UPDATE - 8:08 a.m. : All quiet on the Tennessee front right now, but hey, Missouri Football's Twitter account got suspended. On today, of all days.

ANALYSIS: Is Derek Dooley running their Twitter account?

UPDATE - 7:24 a.m. : Vols target and Georgia Tech commit C'Bo Flemister has decided to commit to Notre Dame.

ANALYSIS: Tough for the Vols to miss out on two running back prospects this early in the morning, but Flemister was leaning toward the Irish after taking an official visit to South Bend. Flemister picked up an offer from the Vols in late December, and he held off signing from the Yellow Jackets.

UPDATE - 7:10 a.m. : Vols running back commit Anthony Grant has flipped to Florida State University.

ANALYSIS: The lone commitment from the Butch Jones era left unsigned in December, Grant’s future at Tennessee was cloudy under new head coach Jeremy Pruitt. Although running backs coach Robert Gillespie recruited Grant, the team has since pursued (and signed) Memphis product Jeremy Banks and extended offers to four-star prospect Jashaun Corbin and Georgia Tech commit C’borious Flemister.

The 17th-ranked running back in the nation visited Florida State with fellow commit Jordan Young this past weekend.