Florida Gators head coach Billy Napier sent a strong message to the rest of college football recently and on Monday the Tennessee Vols responded, albeit indirectly.

After landing a string of talented commits, Napier told reporters that Florida “isn’t going away on the recruiting trail”.

There had been some criticism of Napier’s recruiting abilities over the last several months after the Gators missed on several key recruits.

On Monday afternoon, the Vols sent Florida — and the rest of college football — a reminder.

Tennessee isn’t going away on the recruiting trail either.

The Vols landed a commitment from 2023 four-star cornerback Jordan Matthews on Monday afternoon. The talented defensive back is a Baton Rouge native who picked Tennessee over Michigan, Texas, and others.

Matthews, 6-foot/165 lbs, is ranked in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 15 cornerback in the nation and the No. 9 player in the state of Louisiana.

Tennessee doesn’t usually land players from Baton Rouge. In fact, if a player from Baton Rouge doesn’t go to LSU, they usually end up at one of four places: Alabama, Florida, Texas, or Texas A&M (the latter three because of proximity, Bama for obvious reasons).

The Vols securing a commitment from one of the best players in the state of Louisiana is a massive statement by Josh Heupel and his staff — they aren’t afraid to recruit anywhere. And they’re going to have some success in other programs’ back yards.

Matthews’ commitment comes just a day after the Vols beat out Georgia for 2023 three-star cornerback Rickey Gibson, an Alabama native.

The Gators currently have the No. 10 recruiting class in the nation while Tennessee has the No. 11 recruiting class (247Sports). It’s going to be a race to the finish to see which team finishes with the higher-rated class.

Of course, what really matters is what happens on the field. And the Vols will get their first shot at Napier on September 24 when Florida visits Knoxville. That’s when the trash talk can really begin.

Featured image via Doug Engle via Imagn Content Services, LLC