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Simmons Scoop: Tennessee is a hot name in the Midwest

6 min read
Simmons Scoop: Tennessee is a hot name in the Midwest

Josh Heupel and the Tennessee Vols are coming off a 11-2 season in 2022. Their success on the field has led to some momentum on the recruiting trail. After finishing with the No. 13 recruiting class in 2023, the SEC program in Knoxville sits inside the top 10 at No. 9 in 2024.

Tennessee has 10 commitments as we get ready to close out the month of April. And numerous top targets are expected to make decisions in the coming months. Director of Recruiting Chad Simmons spent time on the road in the midwest recently and many of the best in that region have high interest in the Vols.

5-star DL Williams Nwaneri

The buzz: Williams Nwaneri is a five-star defensive lineman out of Lee’s Summit (Mo.) with national offers. He is not one that loves the spotlight being a top recruit brings, so he is keeping his recruitment fairly quiet. Colorado had him on campus for the spring game. He has visited numerous other schools the last seven weeks and two of those were Oklahoma and Tennessee. Those two have pulled ahead, according to sources. It looked to be Oklahoma and then everyone else a couple of months ago, but the Vols have joined the Sooners at the top.

One source feels Tennessee may have a slight advantage as well. His most recent visit to Knoxville made a strong impression on Nwaneri. Official visits to Norman and Knoxville will be major factors in what is expected to be a summer decision. Other official visits will be taken. Tennessee has some real momentum in the Midwest, and Nwaneri is a five-star they are now making Oklahoma work a little harder for.

5-star WR Ryan Wingo

The buzz: Ryan Wingo has locked in official visits to Georgia (June 2-4) and Missouri (June 23-25). He knows Tennessee will receive an official visit as well, but he is likely to take that during or after the season. There are other schools in the mix, and Wingo is expected to take at least five official visits, but Georgia and Tennesee are two schools that are in a strong position heading into May. Talking to multiple sources, these two schools come up the most, and I give the Vols a slight edge at this time.

Wingo is not planning to make a decision until after his senior season and Tennessee could be in line to receive the last visit before that is made. Based on my intel, the Vols are in the best spot. Georgia also made a big move when they had him on campus in March and the Bulldogs are right there with their SEC rival.

4-star TE Jaden Reddell

The buzz: Jaden Reddell is pretty open about his recruitment. He wants to make a decision before his senior season, and he has turned his focus to Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. Reddell is planning to play football in the SEC. He was back in Tuscaloosa over the weekend and things went well, but the Crimson Tide have some ground to make up based on my intel. Georgia and Tennessee are fighting for the top spot on Reddell’s list. The offense Tennessee runs and the tight end production in Athens have the Bulldogs and the Vols in a good position. He will visit Athens and Knoxville in May before returning in June for official visits.

4-star WR Jeremiah McClellan

The buzz: It looks to be fairly open for Jeremiah McClellan. The school doing the best job recruiting the four-star wide receiver may be Oregon. The Ducks will receive an official visit, but distance could be a factor. LSU, Ohio State and Tennessee are three more schools high on McClellan’s list. His focus is on track now, but once that is done, he is expected to turn his attention to recruiting and start locking in official visits. A decision timeline is still not locked in. Georgia is another school in the mix for an official visit. He could visit Athens early in June. This race is expected to really start taking shape early in the summer.

4-star RB Braylen Russell

The buzz: Braylen Russell is set to commit on his birthday, July 14. He is focused on Arkansas, Baylor, South Carolina, Texas A&M and Tennessee. Four SEC schools are on his list, but this is expected to come down to the Razorbacks and Vols unless there is a significant shift in the coming months. Arkansas is an in-state school and they are pushing hard. Tennessee has had Russell on campus multiple times, and the Vols look to be trending less than three months out. This is going to be a battle up until the decision. Russell will take official visits in June before he makes his decision.

4-star EDGE Kellen Lindstrom

The buzz: Kellen Lindstrom was back at Oklahoma over the weekend for the spring game in Norman and the Sooners are a strong contender in this race. Michigan has been in the mix. Wisconsin and others too, but Oklahoma and Tennessee are the two I am hearing the most about. Lindstrom was in Knoxville recently and he has scheduled an official visit with the Vols for June. That is the only official visit he has locked in at this time. Heading into the visit to Norman, there was a little more buzz around Tennessee.

Coming out of the visit, the race looks to be as tight as it ever has been. According to one source, “it is tied at the top” between the Sooners and the Vols. Both schools have done an excellent job recruiting the four-star EDGE out of Springfield (Mo.) Glendale. Lindstrom is expecting coaches from each school to stop by to check on him in the coming weeks. He is looking to make a decision before his senior year.

Other notes from the Midwest

4-star LB Brian Huff

The buzz: Based on intel, this race looks to be between three schools at the top. Arkansas, Missouri and Notre Dame are high on Brian Huff‘s list with UCF not far behind. He was in South Bend over the weekend and he has official visits lined up in June with the Tigers, Irish and Knights. Arkansas is expected to receive one as well. The race is top and based on intel, one school has not truly separated itself from the pack. He has strong connections with coaches at each school and official visits are expected to play a major factor in Huff’s decision.

3-star DL TJ Lindsey

The buzz: Sam Pittman and Arkansas had a big week last week adding five commitments. The staff in Fayetteville is working hard to keep the best in-state prospects at home and TJ Lindsey is one of those. Talking to sources though, Lindsey is leaning towards leaving the state of Arkansas to play college football. He was at Notre Dame over the weekend and the Irish are in the mix, but not one in that top group.

It is a trio in the SEC that look to be high on Lindsey’s his list. Auburn, Texas and Texas A&M are the schools I am hearing about most around Lindsey’s. The school with the most buzz around it is Texas A&M. He has developed strong relationships with multiple coaches on that staff and he likes the potential fit in College Station. If there is a school to tab as the favorite heading into official visits, it would be Texas A&M. Official visits will play a role in his decision, which he hopes to make over the summer.

The post Simmons Scoop: Tennessee is a hot name in the Midwest appeared first on On3.

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