KNOXVILLE – The Vols have been desperately looking for a tight end for the 2013 recruiting class.
They found one on Saturday with a verbal commitment from Chauntez Jackson, a 6-foot-4, 235-pounder out of Inglewood, Cal.
“He possesses good height and looks to carry a good amount of bulk on his frame with room for added size with further physical development,” ESPN.com wrote in a scouting report. “He flashes a good initial burst, but can be inconsistent with his get-off.”
Jackson plays defensive end and tight end for Inglewood High School, but he’s expected to focus on offense at Tennessee. The Vols will have only two true scholarship tight ends on their roster in 2013 – Brendan Downs and Justin Meredith. With Meredith probably missing all of 2012 with a hamstring injury, Downs could be the only returning tight end with game experience.
Juniors Greg King and Joseph Ayres have worked at tight end this season, but both were moved over from defense in the preseason, and neither has seen extensive playing time. The coaching staff is planning to move freshman wide receiver Jason Croom to tight end in 2013.
Jackson chose the Vols over offers from Nebraska, Washington State, Oregon State, San Diego State and others. He is ranked as a three-star prospect and the No. 111 player in the state of California, according to ESPN.com.
He is the 18th verbal commitment for Tennessee’s 2013 class, and the first tight end to give his pledge. The Vols are expected to take between 23 and 25 players in this class, depending on scholarship numbers.