KNOXVILLE – College teams win games on Saturdays during the fall, but perhaps no other day of the year is as important to them as is National Signing Day (NSD).
With nearly every top recruit in the nation set to fax in his letter of intent tomorrow to the school of his choice, Tennessee will await final word on coach Butch Jones’ first signing class.
It’s a group that former coach Derek Dooley started recruiting, but it’s also a bunch that Jones ultimately will be responsible for despite only having since December 7 to assemble it.
With just a matter of hours left before it starts, here’s everything you need to know to be ready for NSD tomorrow:
*Note: All player and class rankings are according to 247Sports’ composite rankings, which average rankings from several of the top recruiting websites.
By the numbers:
• 5. That’s how many recruits in the 2013 class have already enrolled at UT – defensive back Riyahd Jones, athlete Jalen Reeves-Maybin, athlete Lemond Johnson, receiver Paul Harris and linebacker Corey Vereen.
• 13. The Vols have that many commitments in addition to the five who have already enrolled, meaning Jones will go into NSD feeling good about adding at least 18 players in the 2013 class. Full list of commitments can be seen here.
• 27. UT could take as many as 27 players in this class, but it will be virtually impossible for the Vols to get there this year. NCAA rules allow 25 players to be signed per class, but the Vols were able to count two of their early enrollees back to the 2012 class because they didn’t take a full 25 last year. Similarly, if they fall short this season, they will be able take extra early enrollees for the 2014 class.
• 28. That’s Tennessee’s class ranking, as of Tuesday morning. That’s good for 11th in the SEC, with only Vanderbilt (33), Missouri (38) and Kentucky (43) trailing.
What to expect Wednesday:
The five early enrollees are a done deal and the 13 additional commitments all seem solidly committed to Tennessee.
There have been signing-day shockers in the past where a long-time commitment switches at the last moment, but don’t anticipate any of those burning Tennessee this year.
The Vols will, in all likelihood, add more players that day. Who, and how many, are the big unknowns at this point. These are the players who Tennessee is believed to have at least a reasonable shot at signing:
Vonn Bell/DB/5-11/180/Rossville, Ga./5-star
Other options: Alabama, Ohio State
UT’s odds: 60%
Joshua Dobbs/QB/6-3/190/Alpharetta, Ga./4-star
Other options: Arizona State, Mississippi State
UT’s odds: 50%
Tyler Boyd/WR/6-2/180/Clairton, Pa./4-star
Other options: Pittsburgh, West Virginia
UT’s odds: 40%
Johnathan Ford/RB/5-11/190/New Hope, Ala./4-star
Other option: Auburn
UT’s odds: 40%
Other options: Georgia, Oregon
UT’s odds: 25%
E.J. Levenberry/LB/6-3/230/Woodbridge, Va./4-star *Reaffirmed commitment to Florida State on Tuesday night
Other option: Florida State
Jaylen Miller/DE/6-2/260/Gaffney, S.C./3-star
Other options: Georgia Tech, NC State, Wake Forest, Maryland
UT’s odds: 75%
Malik Brown/DE/6-3/250/Palm Beach Gardens, Fla./3-star
Other options: Syracuse, South Florida
UT’s odds: 50%
Trey Johnson/LB/6-2/220/Lawrenceville, Ga./4-star
Other option: Ohio State
UT’s odds: 20%
That’s not an exhaustive list of every prospect who could sign with the Vols. If Tennessee is not able to sign some of its first choices tomorrow, there remains the possibility that others could be offered on or after signing day and be could be late additions to the class. The Vols signed linebacker Kenny Bynum over a week after NSD last year.
Times to know (all Eastern):
• 9:10 a.m.: Joshua Dobbs is scheduled to make his announcement.
• 10:00 a.m.: Tyler Boyd is scheduled to make his announcement.
• 10:05 a.m.: Vonn Bell is scheduled to make his announcement on ESPNU.
• 11:00 a.m.: Davin Bellamy is scheduled to make his decision.
• Noon: Johnathan Ford is scheduled to make an announcement.
• Noon: Malik Brown is scheduled to make his announcement.
• 2:30 p.m.: Jaylen Miller is scheduled to make his announcement.
• 4:00 p.m.: Butch Jones will address the media. All of the final decisions are likely to be made by that point.
Check Nooga.com regularly on signing day for updates on who is and isn't signing with UT.
Daniel Lewis covers University of Tennessee athletics for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga