As Tennessee’s summer football camp ends, things continue to look up for a program that is coming off a ten-win season and an SEC East Division crown—a season that was highlighted by the play of many true freshmen, including Eric Berry, Brent Vinson, Gerald Jones, and Denis Rogan.
Despite such success last year, the incoming recruiting class is made up of only 18 prospects—and no five-star prospects. Ranked as one of the lowest in the conference, it is a very poor class by Phil Fulmer standards.
Regardless of criticism from the multitude of recruiting services, Fulmer and his staff feel that they have still landed a solid class featuring many overlooked and underrated players.
Fortunately for Big Orange fans, unheralded recruiting classes do not appear to be on the verge of becoming a pattern any time soon. Tennessee already has ten committed players for the 2009 class, five of which signed during their visits to UT during Tennessee’s annual football camp for high school players.
One standout is Jarvis Giles. The Florida native is the second-ranked running back according to Rivals.com. Giles is an explosive runner who likes to create plays in space, potentially allowing him to fit perfectly into new offensive coordinator Dan Clawson’s offense, which centers on getting the ball to playmakers in space.
Giles joins Aubrey Phillips, a 6'6", 310-pound lineman from Olive Branch (Miss.) High School; Nyshier Oliver, a 5'11", 185-pound athlete from St. Peter’s Prep in New Jersey City, N.J.; JerQuari Schofield, a 6'6", 298-pound offensive lineman from South Aiken High in Aiken, S.C.; and Rhea County lineman Kevin Revis.
The latest prospects to join the Volunteers will also be accompanied by one of the earliest commits of the 2009 class: JeRon Stokes, a 6'1" WR from Philadelphia. Stokes is rated the 51st overall prospect in the country and promises to figure a prominent role in Tennessee’s passing attack in the years to come.
With Tennessee’s fast start in the 2009 recruiting season, the very strong 2007 class, and any stars from the ’08 class, the talent level wearing orange and white on Saturday afternoons promises to be exceptional in the years to come.
Combine the influx of talent with good coaching, player development, and the lucky breaks required for success during a grueling SEC season, and the sky is the limit for Tennessee football as it closes out the decade.