2022 five-star defensive lineman Walter Nolen is one of the most coveted recruits in the country.

Nolen, 6-foot-4/325 lbs, is ranked in 247Sports’ composite rankings as the No. 2 overall player in the 2022 recruiting class.

And he plays high school football just 20 minutes away from Neyland Stadium at Powell.

Unfortunately for the Tennessee Vols, Nolen committed to Texas A&M in early November.

The battle for Nolen, however, won’t end until the early signing period begins in mid-December, which means the Vols still have time to flip the talented recruit.

On Monday, Tennessee defensive coordinator Tim Banks sent a public message to Nolen — with Nolen in the same room.

Banks spoke at the Knoxville Quarterback Club on Monday. And Nolen was in the audience to be recognized as a defensive player of the week.

The UT defensive coordinator was asked a question about Vols defensive line coach Rodney Garner. That’s when Banks unleashed his indirect recruiting pitch to Nolen.

“I think if you look at his (Garner) resume, I think it speaks for itself,” said Banks. “But, by far, he is the best in the country, and you would be a fool not to want to come play for him at the University of Tennessee. If you want to play in the NFL, it would be a good starting place for you.”

There’s no doubt that Banks’ comments were directed at Nolen.

Now, whether or not those comments make an impact remains to be seen. But Banks made sure to say those words about Garner in front of Nolen in a public place. That was a smooth move on Banks’ part.

Nolen appears to be solid to the Aggies for now. But plenty could change in the final weeks before the early signing period begins.

Recruiting, after all, can be extremely unpredictable.

Featured image via Saul Young/News Sentinel/Rivals.com