Photo By Caleb Jones/Tennessee Athletics
Tennessee football wrapped up its 2023 recruiting class on the opening day of the early signing period, adding 24 high school prospects to the roster.
The Vols signed one quarterback, one running back, three receivers, one tight end, two interior offensive linemen, two offensive tackles, one athlete that could play on either side of the line of scrimmage, three edge rushers, two interior defensive lineman, three linebackers and five defensive backs committed six weeks ahead of signing day.
Exiting the first day of the early signing period, Tennessee’s recruiting class ranks right on either side of the nation’s top 10 according to different websites.
Let’s take a look at the top positions in Tennessee’s 2023 signing class.
5. Wide Receiver
Tennessee’s receiver class is a small one but a strong one especially considering the Vols finished runner up for five-star Carnell Tate who they invested an abundance of time recruiting.
Three-star Nashville native Nate Spillman was the first receiver to commit to Tennessee and comes to Knoxville with little limelight.
Athlete Cameron Seldon is the nation’s No. 115 player according to the 247sports composite rankings and projects at receiver in college. The Virginia native is a dynamic playmaker with the ball in his hands and has big play ability.
Nathan Leacock was the best evaluation by Tennessee’s coaching staff in the 2023 cycle. Just a low three-star when committing to Tennessee in July, Leacock skyrocketed to right outside the nation’s top 100 with a dominant senior season.
Tennessee’s receiver class isn’t its most glamorous but includes strong evaluations and two extremely promising products.
4. Inside Linebacker
Tennessee’s inside linebacker class doesn’t blow off the page at you. A three-player haul that includes just one top 300 commit.
Smyrna native Arion Carter is the lone top 300 commit as the Tennessee 6A Mr. Football winner chose Tennessee over Alabama earlier in December.
Low four-star recruit Jalen Smith is perhaps the most underrated player in Tennessee’s class. A tackling machine at Georgia’s Grayson High School, Smith combined for 327 yards in his final two high school seasons.
Three-star Georgia linebacker Jeremiah Telander has strong pass rushing ability for an inside linebacker but also brings a strong ability to defend against the run in the box.
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Tennessee needed a strong cornerback class after recent struggles on the field and the Vols’ 2021 corner class not being a strength. It took time for it to come together but the Vols did just that.
Three-star Kentucky corner Cristian Conyer committed to Tennessee over the home state Wildcats in July after a long back-and-forth recruiting battle. The commitment kick started the Vols’ corner class into one of their best.
Four-star Alabama native Rickey Gibson committed to Tennessee in August as the Vols survived a late push from Georgia.
Four-star Jordan Matthews was considered a heavy Texas lean heading into his August decision date before upsetting the recruiting world and committing to Tennessee.
Both Gibson and Matthews have already enrolled at Tennessee and have a chance to earn early playing time as freshmen.
2. Defensive Line
Rodney Garner put together a strong defensive line class in his first full recruiting cycle back at Tennessee but he took it to another level in the 2023 cycle. The Vols have one five-star, three four-stars and one three-star defensive line commits. Three of the five defensive line signees rank in the nation’s top 100.
Daevin Hobbs is the centerpiece of the haul and is perhaps the most impressive recruiting win of Josh Heupel’s tenure. Four-star Georgia native Tyree Weathersby was a great evaluation by the Vols’ staff and joins Hobbs as the second interior defensive lineman in the class.
Edge rushers Caleb Herring and Chandavian Bradley rank in the nation’s top 100 and are two of the Vols’ highest rated commits. Three-star Tennessee native Nathan Robinson is the third edge rusher in the class. Herring is the top player in the Volunteer state and Bradley is the No. 10 edge rusher in the entire class.
Tennessee’s quarterback class includes just one player but it’s a good one. California signal caller Nico Iamaleava is the pride of Tennessee’s class after committing to the Vols in March.
Iamaleava ranks as the No. 4 player and No. 2 quarterback in the country according to the 247sports composite rankings. Already on campus going through bowl practices, Iamaleava has tons of raw skill and potential.
It’s just one player but given his pedigree and the importance of the quarterback position, it’s the best position group in the Vols’ 2023 signing class.