For the Tennessee Vols to be great again, Jeremy Pruitt and his staff need to have a strong national recruiting presence.

But at the same time, the Vols must absolutely own the state of Tennessee in recruiting — especially East Tennessee.

That’s why it’s extremely important that Tennessee doesn’t miss on four-star athlete Chancellor Bright.

Bright, 6-foot-2/175 lbs Franklin, TN, is rated by Rivals as the No. 15 player in the state of Tennessee and the No. 22 athlete in the nation. He just recently transferred to Knoxville Catholic.

The Tennessee native has played mostly on the offensive side of the ball in high school, but it looks like the Vols, who haven’t offered yet, are hoping he’ll play on the defensive side of the ball.

After a recent visit to UT, Bright told VolQuest that Tennessee “wants to see how I do at defense”. He added “they want to see film of me on defense”.

That makes a lot of sense, considering Pruitt’s preference for tall defensive backs. Of course, we also know that Pruitt isn’t afraid to move players around on the field, so there’s no guarantee that Bright would end up on the defensive side of the ball if he signed with the Vols.

And speaking of signing, that’s exactly what Tennessee needs to happen with Bright.

In recent years, the Vols have had some trouble locking down highly rated in-state players. Tee Higgins and Amari Rodgers are the two names that are typically used as examples. Both were highly rated players from the Knoxville area and both of them ended up at Clemson.

(Speaking of Amari Rodgers, he’s on board with Bright transferring to Knoxville Catholic, Rodgers’ alma mater.)

Obviously the Vols are recruiting nation wide, as evidenced by signing players like JT Shrout and Jordan Allen. But they can’t forget about the local talent. In fact, the local talent should probably be a bigger priority. Missing on a four-star player from Texas isn’t really a big deal. Missing on a four-star player from just around the corner, however, is a really big deal and a massive red flag.

Pruitt has done a nice job of stabilizing a football program that was on life support just over a year ago. But Tennessee is far from being out of the woods.

Making sure Chancellor Bright ends up wearing orange should certainly be a part of Pruitt’s continued program-saving efforts.

Featured image via 247Sports