KNOXVILLE – While Tennessee is hard at work on the 2014 football recruiting class, the Vols have also started on 2015.
They picked up a commitment from in-state offensive lineman Zach Stewart on Thursday afternoon, giving coach Butch Jones his first pledge in what will be his third recruiting class at UT.
Stewart is a 6-4, 290-pound offensive tackle/guard from Coalfield, Tenn., located just minutes from Knoxville. He has visited UT six times in the past few months and was offered in March.
With it being so early in the recruiting process, no major recruiting sites have him ranked yet and only UT had offered, though the likes of Georgia, Vanderbilt and LSU had shown interest.
The Vols will make offensive line recruiting a priority over the next couple of years after all five starters – Ja’Wuan James, Alex Bullard, James Stone, Zach Fulton and Tiny Richardson – could depart after 2013. All are seniors except Richardson, though the rising junior will likely be a top NFL prospect if he has a solid campaign next year.
Offensive line coach Don Mahoney signed three offensive linemen in the 2013 class and the Vols have one, Coleman Thomas, committed for 2014. They are expected to take five or more in this coming recruiting class and several more in 2015.
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga