KNOXVILLE – Tennessee’s on-the-field effort wasn’t great at Alabama on Saturday, but 24 hours later the Vols got great news on the recruiting front with the addition of consensus four-star defensive end Dewayne Hendrix.
Hendrix is a 6-foot-5, 255-pound defensive end from O’Fallon, Ill., who has long favored the Vols and who finally made his pledge on Saturday, choosing the Vols over offers from Florida, Ohio State, Ole Miss, Nebraska and many others.
“Has the height and some outstanding athleticism for the defensive end position at the BCS level,” ESPN.com wrote in scouting report of Hendrix. “Sturdy frame appears capable of supporting the added bulk needed to play defensive end. An explosive player with the upper-body strength and hand quickness needed to take on and defeat blockers at the point.”
Hendrix is the fourth defensive lineman to commit to UT’s class of 2014, joining defensive end Joe Henderson, junior college prospect DaVonte Lambert and Derek Barnett. Hendrix is the 28th commitment in a class that is expected to have 30 signees.
With several top uncommitted prospects still on Tennessee’s board, it will be interesting to see how coach Butch Jones manages the remaining spots. Clearly, restocking the defensive line is one of the top priorities for this year.
How he fits: Hendrix is a prototypical every-down defensive end. He’s big and physical enough to hold up against the run but also an explosive pass rusher.
Tennessee will lose a lot at defensive end after 2013. Corey Miller, Marlon Walls and Jacques Smith, all experienced seniors, will move on. A young core of ends consisting of the likes of Corey Vereen, Jordan Williams, LaTroy Lewis and Jaylen Miller will compete with the newcomers to replace the veteran group.
Hendrix figures to play a big role in that battle to be part of the rebuilt defensive front. Jones has proven that he’s not afraid to play young players early, so Hendrix should have as good of a shot as anybody for playing time as a true freshman.
ESPN.com: 4-star; 189th nationally; 18th best DE
Rivals.com: 4-star; 114th nationally; 9th best strongside DE
Scout.com: 4-star; 11th best DE
247Sports.com: 4-star; 159th nationally; 9th best strongside DE
247Sports.com Composite: 4-star; 115th nationally; 8th best strongside DE
Tennessee’s 2014 commitments (247Sports Composite ranking):
DE Dewayne Hendrix (4-star)
Daniel Lewis covers Tennessee football for Nooga.com. Follow him on Twitter @DanielNooga