KNOXVILLE – With many offensive and defensive linemen departing after 2013, Tennessee needs to make adding size a priority in the 2014 recruiting class.
The Vols did that, and then some, on Thursday.
Massive offensive tackle Orlando Brown Jr., the son of the late NFL offensive lineman Orlando Brown Sr., publically committed to the Vols during a ceremony at his high school in Suwanee, Ga.
Brown Sr. played in the NFL with the Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns from 1993-2005. He passed away in 2011.
At 6-foot-8 and 345 pounds, Brown Jr. is the biggest player recruited by Butch Jones in his short time in Knoxville and one of the biggest available players in the 2014 class.
“He has excellent height, but carries a great deal of bulk on his frame and maintaining good functional size will be a key,” ESPN.com wrote in a scouting report of Brown. “He is well over 300 pounds and while his weight could be a hindrance, he does look to have trimmed down some and is moving towards playing at a better weight his senior year.
“He flashes some solid athleticism for his size and the big man displays the ability to get out of his stance and into defenders with good quickness.”
He chose the Vols over an impressive offer list that includes Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, Florida, Clemson, South Carolina, Ohio State, Miami, USC, Michigan and many others.
How he fits: With Tennessee facing possibility of losing all five starting offensive linemen off the 2013 team, finding help at that spot is crucial for this recruiting class.
If junior tackle Tiny Richardson foregoes his senior season, the Vols will have just eight scholarship offensive linemen scheduled to return in 2014 – Kyler Kerbyson, Mack Crowder, Marcus Jackson, Marques Pair, Alan Posey, Brett Kendrick, Austin Sanders and Dylan Wiesman.
The Vols could take as many as five or six offensive linemen in this class. Brown joins offensive lineman Coleman Thomas as the two commitments in this class thus far.
Brown, who once weighed over 400 pounds, has lost a significant amount of weight in recent years and is trying to play his senior season under 340 pounds. He projects as a right tackle in college. He’ll probably need a year or two to get in the kind of shape Jones needs his offensive linemen to be to run his up-tempo system, but with the Vols running short on options, he could have a chance to play early in his career in Knoxville.
ESPN.com: 3-star; 25th best OT in the nation
Rivals.com: 3-star; 41st best OT in the nation
Scout.com: 3-star, 48th best OT in the nation
247Sports.com: 3-star, 43rd best OT in the nation
247Sports.com Composite: 3-star, 37th best OT in the nation
Tennessee’s 2014 commitments (247Sports Composite ranking)
OL Orlando Brown (3-star)
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga