Sports Editor Troy Provost-Heron covered UT's National Signing Day on Wednesday and assessed grades for each of the Vols' position groups.
The Vols didn't sign a signal caller in their 2014 recruiting class largely because it wasn't necessary. UT currently has four scholarship quarterbacks on the roster and only one of them has less than two years of eligibility left.
Running Backs: A
The backfield of this class may be headlined by Jalen Hurd, but the signings of Derrell Scott and Treyvon Paulk give this team much needed depth to go alongside senior tailback Marlin Lane at the tailback position.
Wide Receivers: A
Lavon Pearson will provide this team with an instant playmaker to line up on the other side of Marquez North, while Josh Malone and Vic Wharton have the potential to one day be the best pass catching duo in the SEC. The addition of tight ends Ethan Wolf and Daniel Helm – a position that was mediocre at best last season – should help add some weapons to the offense.
Offensive Line: B
The signing of Dontavius Blair will limit the damage caused by the loss of Antonio "Tiny" Richardson who skipped his senior year to bolt for the NFL. Charles Mosley is the definition of an anchor at the offensive guard position, standing at 6-foot-5 and weighing in at 358 pounds.
Defensive Line: A
The late flip of Michael Sawyers at the defensive tackle position was the perfect addition when you add the future one-technique player to the three four-star defensive ends – Derek Barnett, Joe Henderson and Dewayne Hendrix – that the Vols were able to grab.
Chris Weatherd and Dillon Bates are poised to be impact players right off the bat, and the potential of Gavin Bryant and Jakob Johnson could possibly push this grade up to an 'A' when we look back at this class in a few years.
Defensive Backs: A
Aside from Cam Sutton and Brian Randolph, the Vols struggled mightily throughout 2013 due to a lack of depth. Enter the six defensive backs that signed with the Vols on Wednesday, five of which are four-star athletes. The influx of secondary talent – and speed – should be enough to improve the Tennessee defense in the upcoming years.
Special Teams: A
The graduation of Michael Palardy – arguably the MVP of last season – could have been the biggest loss for the Vols had they not been able to find a capable replacement, but the signing of Aaron Medley eases those worries. Also, this class wields plenty of athletes, which should provide a plethora of candidates to return punts and kicks, an area of weakness for the Vols in 2013.
National Signing Day GPA: Butch Jones and his coaching staff earned a 3.76 grade for their 2014 recruiting class.