Last week’s recruiting article, focused on the Volunteer’s current commits (three of which are UT legacies in some way). This week I’ll focus on the remaining (legitimate D1) legacy prospects left on the board. As an added bonus, I’m throwing in Blaise Taylor since he has so many ties to Tennessee that he might as well be a legacy in his own right. If Butch Jones and his staff can lock down these remaining guys, they will have a solid foundation and momentum on which to establish one of the top classes (currently ranked #7) in the country for 2014.
Dillon Bates (@dillonbates):
If the Volunteers could only reel in one more Tennessee legacy, Bill Bates’ son would most likely be the unanimous pick to fill that slot. The stud OLB would provide quality depth at a position of need on a defense that has woefully underperformed in recent years. The trouble is, Dillon Bates’ recruitment isn’t such a sure thing. While taking visits to rival schools of his father’s alma mater, is not the worst thing in the world, the recent comments from Jr. and Sr. should be a little concerning to VOLS faithful. It appears as Bill Bates, the former All-SEC safety and 3 time Super Bowl Champion, will not attempt to steer his son to Tennessee. While Bates Sr. has said that new coach Butch Jones has made UT a more attractable school than Kiffin and Dooley did, he said “[he] will be the first one to say ‘Roll Tide’ if his son is playing [for Bama].” Dillon has recently visited the University of Florida for their spring practices and plans to visit the University of Alabama in the near future. I wouldn’t say that we should eliminate him yet, because he did visit Tennessee’s first spring practice, but with Tennessee’s past luck on the recruiting trail this one could come to the wire and cause Tennessee fans some stress and anxiety. Bates’ teammate, Greg Miclisse (http://247sports.com/Player/Greg-Miclisse-24683), seems to be in love with the VOLS. The recruit has caused quite the stir by claiming to hold several offers from big name schools, including Tennessee, even though several recruiting experts dispute the validity of these claims. It will be interesting to see if Miclisse will play a factor in Bates’ recruitment since Miclisse has expressed interest in playing college ball with Bates.
Articles of Interest:
Dillon Bates is one of those real deal players. High football IQ and just knows where to be at the right moment. His first step when the ball is snapped is forward and he’s immediately reading the play. Good footwork and doesn’t waste time with stutter steps or drop backs. Bates covers the underneath routes well on passing plays. One negative is that he tends to leave his feet on some tackles instead of driving through the play. At the high school level, he can negate that by taking good angles and wrapping up. He’ll need to work on it for the college level, particularly if he does intend to play in the SEC. He engages blocks well and doesn’t get caught up in the play. Overall, Dillon Bates definitely deserves his 4 star ranking and I hope we’ll see him suited up in orange next season.
Cole Cook (@cookmiester1):
Cole Cook is a large TE with several ties to the University of Tennessee. His mother was a former Lady VOLS basketball player, his uncle played football here, and his father graduated from Knox Central High School. Rivals list Cook as a 6’6, 230 pound monster with a 4.89 40 time. If these measurable hold up, Cole would instantly be the largest TE on the roster the moment he stepped on campus (*Edit Note: Brendan Downs is heavier but is a shorter TE). Butch Jones prefers his TE to be around 6’5 and 230 so Cole could fit that mold or possibly bulk up and slid inside on the OL.
The first things you notice when you watch Cole Cook’s highlight tapes are that he’s not fast and his route running isn’t that great. The next thing you notice is that he is a gigantic target. He stands a head taller than everyone else he faces in the secondary and he’s a struggle to take down. If Cook can work on speed and route running, he could be a dynamic check down option for a QB in a jam. I’d put this blocking ability as average. He gets lazy on blocks and uses mainly his size and not technique to overpower smaller defenders.
Evan Berry (@aSuperManDoe):
At this point, everyone should know who Evan and his brother, Elliot, are. Evan made national news when he committed to the University of Tennessee at the age of 13. While his father and Evan have since backed off this stance, Evan seems to still hold Tennessee in high regard. Both Evan and Elliot have expressed interest in playing college ball together and this is pretty much an Auburn, LSU, and VOLS battle. Interest in Auburn may be subsiding with the firing of Trooper Taylor, who, along with his son is very close to the Berry twins. Tennessee has also extended an offer to the famed towel wavers son, so the potential to grab all three is there.
Elliot Berry (@YouUglyBruh):
Elliot Berry is considered the less talented of the “Berry Twins’, but as the two have expressed interest in playing together, they will likely be accepted as a package deal. Elliot is rated as a 3 star safety prospect with good size and speed to play the position. Some seem to think he could beef up and end up at the OLB position but we’ll see. With Todd Kelly Jr. already committed at the safety position, Elliot wouldn’t be a bad pick up to play opposite him in a few years. There are a few higher rated safeties still on the board that I’m sure the staff will pursue, but I’d be surprised if Elliot didn’t end up in orange. There is just too much is the VOLS favor at this point, older brother and father both played in orange, both brothers like Butch Jones and his “swagger’, and UT is the only SEC school, other than Auburn, to offer both brothers and close friend Blaise Taylor. Also worth noting, Elliot is the brother that was looking at LSU for awhile.
Berry Twin Highlights:
I couldn’t find any highlights for the Berry Brothers. There were a few videos of some combine work, but they weren’t worth anything. If you find any, send them my way and I’ll add them and my breakdown to the article.
Blaise Taylor (@BlaiseTaylor1):
Blaise Taylor, son of former VOLS assistant coach, Trooper Taylor, currently holds five offers to play football at the next level. Although listed as a wide receiver, his measurable seem to be against him seeing any sizable minutes at the position particularly in the SEC or any other big time conference. He isn’t exceptionally fast either (4.68 40 time), but if he can trim his speed down and work on technique CB could be a possibility. Blaise is likely just a package deal for the Berry Twins and his high school teammate, OLB Rashaan Evans (http://247sports.com/Player/Rashaan-Evans-20334). Maybe Butch is just recruiting him to be the next great Tennessee hype man.
After watching Taylor’s highlights, I stick by my statement that he doesn’t have burner speed, but the kid is quick. He can stop and start on a dime and he’s quit to break on a ball. He could definitely be utilized as a return specialist early on and transition to maybe a contributing role at corner.