Late Monday night, Derek Dooley and the Tennessee coaching staff got some fantastic news in the form of a commitment from 4-star JUCO defensive back Izauea Lanier.
A sophomore from East Mississippi Community College, Lanier was originally an Auburn commitment coming out of high school in Gordo, Alabama. Lanier failed to qualify and went the junior college route with hopes of returning to play for the Tigers, but earlier this year the Auburn coaching staff cut ties with Lanier and informed him he would have to play his college ball elsewhere.
Lanier was, at the time, on track to be a midterm enrollee, so the time frame for his decision was extremely short and at one point, it appeared as though he would be on campus for the Vols in January.
However, Lanier failed to qualify as a midterm enrollee and decided to take his time and open up his recruitment.
At one point Florida, Mississippi and Arkansas came knocking, and many in recruiting circles seemed to think that he was heading to Ole Miss before his surprise commitment tonight.
It has been speculated that they may not have had room for him at Ole Miss, but regardless of motivation, it appears that he will be a Vol come signing day and this staff is happy to get him.
Lanier offers some immediate help at a position of extreme need for the Volunteers and likely won't be the last DB taken in this class, despite Tennessee's current crunch on numbers.
Rivals.com lists him as the No. 16 JUCO player in the country and considers him an "athlete," but it appears likely that he will be a corner in defensive coordinator Justin Wilcox's scheme.
Lanier is the 21st commitment for the Vols in the class of 2011 and has bumped Tennessee up to No. 18 in Rivals team recruiting rankings.
National Signing Day is February 2nd.