KNOXVILLE – Butch Jones’ hot start on the 2014 recruiting class picked up even more steam on Wednesday afternoon.
Tight end Ethan Wolf, rated by some recruiting services as a four-star prospect, pledged to the Vols via Twitter, giving them eight commitments for 2014 and even more momentum for what appears to be a potential top-tier class in the making.
“Wolf is a nice-sized prospect with excellent height, solid bulk and a frame that looks capable of supporting plenty more good needed mass with time in a college weight program,” ESPN.com wrote in a scouting report. “With his size he can be an effective and physical in-line blocker.”
Jones and tight ends coach Mark Elder reached back to their ties built during their time at Cincinnati to help land the 6-6, 240-pound prospect from Minster, Ohio. The Bearcats offered Wolf last July and that long-standing relationship paid dividends.
Wolf held over 20 offers in total, including notable ones from Arkansas, Michigan State, Nebraska, Louisville and Boston College. He earned a UT offer when he was on campus on March 16 for UT’s first scrimmage.
How he fits: The Vols are projected to have six scholarship tight ends on campus in 2014 at this point – Wolf, Brendan Downs, Justin Meredith, Justin King, Woody Quinn and A.J. Branisel.
Only Downs has recorded a catch to this point. Meredith has struggled with injury issues, King is making the switch from fullback to tight end this spring and Quinn and Branisel will enroll this summer.
It’s a crowded position, but with few proven players, Wolf, who will come in with one of the biggest frames in the group, should have a chance to compete for early playing time.
There’s also at least an outside possibility that he could eventually grow into an offensive tackle. The staff seems to like him as a tight end initially, but Jones also has a reputation of developing big, athletic players into star tackles (see this article for more on that).
ESPN.com: ESPN300 watch list
Scout.com: 4-star, 7th best TE in the nation
247Sports.com: 3-star, 16th best TE in the nation
247Sports.com Composite: 4-star, 10th best TE in the nation
Tennessee’s 2014 commitments (247Sports Composite ranking)
TE Ethan Wolf (4-star)
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga