KNOXVILLE – Vanderbilt has closed the gap on Tennessee on the field and on the recruiting trail in the last few years.
The Vols struck back on Saturday, receiving a verbal commitment from Kingsport, Tenn., athlete Malik Foreman, who had previously been committed to the Commodores.
The 5-foot-10, 170-pound defensive back chose the Vols over other offers from Vanderbilt, Kentucky, Middle Tennessee and others.
“Overall, Foreman creates plays at the high school level,” ESPN.com wrote in a scouting report. “Will need to find a position at the next level but could contribute on either side of the ball within the right scheme. Could be a punt returner at the next level.”
Foreman played quarterback, wide receiver, cornerback and returned punts for Dobyns-Bennett High School, a traditional power in Kingsport. He becomes the 15th commitment in Tennessee's 2013 class and is the third overall player to commit to new coach Butch Jones.
ESPN.com: 3-star; 33rd best player in Tennessee
Rivals.com: 3-star; 19th best player in Tennessee
247Sports.com: 3-star; 22nd best player in Tennessee
Nooga.com analysis: His strength comes in his speed and explosiveness. He’s shifty and has no problem separating from high school defenders. His 40-yard dash time is listed in the 4.4-4.5 range by recruiting services. Though he might not be a true 4.4-type of athlete, it appears that he has enough speed to play in the SEC, though he’s probably not quick enough to be considered a true “burner” in college.
Size is a concern with Foreman. He would have a hard time matching up with some of the SEC’s bigger wide receivers if he ends up at cornerback.
On offense and defense, he plays the ball extremely well. He’s got great hands, makes good adjustments to the ball and runs solid routes.
How he fits: Tennessee needs help at both receiver and cornerback, so Foreman could be plugged in at either spot next season. He has some similarities to recently graduated cornerback Marsalis Teague, who also played receiver earlier in his UT career.
Regardless of which side of the ball he ends up on, he’s likely going to end up in the slot, whether that be as a slot receiver or a nickelback on defense.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @Daniel_LewisCBS