By Josh Ward
Tennessee accomplished exactly what it needed to during Saturday’s Orange Carpet Day.
With many highly-touted prospects from the 2018, 2019 and 2020 classes in Knoxville, Tennessee’s coaching staff focused on strengthening its position with its top targets.
The reaction from many of the prospects on campus indicates the Vols were successful.
Key in-state recruits on campus last weekend included Cordova offensive lineman Jerome Carvin, Memphis defensive end Jordan Davis and Jackson defensive end Greg Emerson.
Other prospects like Rome, Ga., defensive end Jamarcus Chatman and cornerbacks Jaycee Horn from Alpharetta, Ga., and Kyler McMichael from Norcross, Ga., added to the star power of Tennessee’s visitor list.
But where are the commitments, you might wonder.
Tennessee did not secure a commitment during the weekend, but the Vols did land Murfreeseboro defensive tackle D’Andre Litaker and cornerback Brandon Cross from Orlando, Fla., last week.
Both players attended Orange Carpet Day; they just went ahead and announced their commitments before arriving in Knoxville.
Also, consider that Tennessee took seven commitments in the 2017 class during last year’s Orange Carpet Day. Three of those players ended up signing elsewhere.
With 12 prospects already on Tennessee’s commitment list for the 2018 class, a run of commitments this past weekend would have created more questions about Tennessee’s numbers in the upcoming class.
“Tennessee’s playing the long game here,” Volquest.com writer Jesse Simonton said, “and I think they made some key in-roads and raised some eyebrows with some guys that maybe won’t make any noise right now but maybe they’ll have a summer splash or two in the next month or so.”
Tennessee’s committed players are already doing their part to help Tennessee’s staff in their pursuit of other top targets.
— Jatavious Harris (@screamtaaye) June 17, 2017
One of the committed players in the picture above is quarterback Adrian Martinez, who made the trip to Knoxville from Fresno, Calif.
Martinez was confident in May when he committed to Tennessee that the Vols’ group of early commitments could help lure other highly-touted prospects to Tennessee.
“They’re going to want to play with us, in my opinion, to win that national championship and I think that we can sell them on that,” Martinez said. “Really that’s going to be the goal moving forward – to kind of convince them of what we have in place and what we can really accomplish.”
There’s also the question of what Tennessee will accomplish during the 2017 season. What happens on the field this fall will play an important role on the recruiting trail for Tennessee.
A strong season on the field would help the Vols’ in their standing with some of the nation’s top players; a disappointing campaign would likely take Tennessee out of the running with several prospects who visited on Saturday.
“I think in the end, the ‘quiet day’ from Saturday will be much more beneficial and an actual success story when we look at it down the line,” Simonton said.
That’s all Tennessee could ask for.