There’s a decent chance the Tennessee Vols get some bad recruiting news this week.

2023 five-star wide receiver Carnell Tate announced on Saturday evening that he plans to commit on Monday at 1:00 PM ET.

Tate’s finalists are LSU, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Tennessee. This is widely regarded as an Ohio State vs Tennessee battle. And the feeling over the last few days is that Tate is going to commit to the Buckeyes.

Now, there’s still a chance that Tate commits to the Vols. That certainly can’t be ruled out, but Ohio State is the program with the momentum in this battle over the last week.

Tennessee obviously wants to land Tate. He’s rated as the No.3 wide receiver in the nation and the No. 28 overall recruit in the nation. He’s going to be an impact player at the next level.

I’m sure fans will be bummed if the Vols don’t get Tate on Monday. And I get it — he’s a player that could excel in Josh Heupel’s up-tempo offense.

But if Tennessee misses on Tate, it’s not an indictment on Heupel and his recruiting ability. Nor does it spell trouble for the Vols’ offense in the coming years.

Tennessee’s offense is unique in that it doesn’t necessarily need “elite” wide receivers to be successful. The Vols have some good wide receivers on their roster, but none of them were as highly rated as Tate.

Last season, Tennessee finished with the No. 7 scoring offense in the nation while getting most of their production in the passing game from three former three-star wide receivers (Velus Jones Jr, Cedric Tillman, and JaVonta Payton).

Landing Tate would essentially be a luxury for the Vols, not a necessity. There are other more important areas where Tennessee needs to land five-star players — like on the defensive side of the ball, or along the offensive line.

Losing a recruiting battle doesn’t mean a coaching staff did a bad job. Sometimes it comes down to factors that are outside of a coach’s control. In Tate’s case, he’s a Chicago native that might feel more comfortable in Ohio than Tennessee. Whatever the reasoning, if Tate doesn’t choose the Vols, it won’t have a major impact on Tennessee’s future success under Heupel.

Featured image via Calvin Mattheis/News Sentinel / USA TODAY NETWORK