National Signing Day used to be one of the most exciting days of the year for fans of the Tennessee Vols (and college football fans in general).
But thanks to the new early signing period in December, National Signing Day has a lost a bit of its shine.
The Vols, who currently have the nation’s No. 15 2019 recruiting class, signed 19 players during the early signing period, which leaves them with only a few spots left.
How many spots are left in Tennessee’s 2019 recruiting class is unclear, but the best guess is the Vols have three spots left (give or take a spot).
A few weeks ago, it looked like Jeremy Pruitt and his staff were on their way to having a spectacular finish. Darnell Wright, Henry To’oto’o and Chris Russell all appeared destined to sign with Tennessee.
Now, the Vols will likely only land one of those players. Tennessee will get the final visit for Wright, a five-star offensive tackle from West Virginia. Wright should end up signing with Tennessee, though West Virginia is making a strong push.
To’oto’o, a four-star linebacker from California, will probably end up at Alabama or Washington, which is a huge disappointment for the Vols.
To’oto’o’s primary recruiter at Alabama, Tosh Lupoi, left Tuscaloosa in January to take a job with the Cleveland Browns. Most folks believed that Lupoi’s departure put the Vols in the catbird seat for To’oto’o. But we should all know by now that you can never count Nick Saban and Alabama out of any recruiting battle. There’s also the possibility that To’oto’o could elect to stay close to home, which is why Washington is still a major factor.
As for Russell, a three-star in-state linebacker, according to various reports he’s unlikely to visit Tennessee again before National Signing Day. It looks like he’s going to end up at Texas A&M.
So what will the Vols do with their other spots if they miss on To’oto’o and Russell?
Well, they’re still taking a swing at five-star wide receiver George Pickens, and I wouldn’t rule out Tennessee landing the dynamic Alabama native (he’s currently committed to Auburn).
The Vols are also very much in the mix for cornerback Kenny Solomon, who possesses elite SEC speed. He’d be a nice take for Tennessee in this class if they miss on some of their top targets.
It’s possible that Tennessee only signs two players on Wednesday, with the hopes of making room for a full signing class in 2020.
While it’s unclear how National Signing Day will play out for the Vols, there will almost certainly be less drama for Tennessee than there typically is on the first Wednesday in February.
But then again, this is college football recruiting we’re talking about. It’s an unpredictable day, so anything could happen.
Featured image via Randy Sartin-USA TODAY Sports/247Sports