Recruiting is essential in order to have success at a collegiate level, especially in the SEC, where teams compete for top 10 classes year in and year out. Tennessee was able to take a major step forward in regards to rebuilding the dynasty that once existed on Rocky Top as they finished very strong on National Signing Day. The Vols were able to add 4-Star wide-receiver Malachi Wideman— who flipped to the Vols from Florida State— and 3-Star ATH Dee Beckwith— who joined Tennessee’s class this morning over Florida.
Malachi Wideman— who stands at 6’4’’ and weighs in at 197 pounds— possesses unreal athletic capabilities and is also expected to play basketball on Rocky Top. The 4-Star wide-receiver is rated as the 19th best player in the State of Florida and the 22nd best wide-receiver in the nation, according to 247Sports, while Rivals has the Vince native rated as the 12th best player in his state and the 10th best at his position. Wideman was a long-time commit to Florida State, but after a coaching change, and both Jeremy Pruitt and Lane Kiffin pushing to flip him from his home-state team, he decided to play in the SEC.
Meanwhile, the Volunteers’ other signee from today, Dee Beckwith, also stands at 6’4’’ in addition to weighing in at 215 pounds. The Florence, Alabama native focused on two SEC East schools for the majority of his recruitment, Tennessee and Florida. For most of his recruitment, the Gators seemed to be the favorite for Beckwith’s services, however, after the departure of Florida TE Coach Larry Scott— to Howard— he decided that the Big Orange were his best option. Beckwith will start off in the wide-receiver room, according to Tennessee WR Coach Tee Martin, but it is possible that he could play tight end in the future due to his large size.
In addition to Wideman and Beckwith, Tennessee still has the opportunity to impress even more in the 2020 class as 5-Star running back Zach Evans is still holding off on an announcement, however, it is thought that the Vols— along with Ole Miss— are currently the front runners in his recruitment.
The Volunteers surged into the top 10 after signing Beckwith and Wideman on Wednesday as they now rank 7th in the nation— with 23 commitments— according to Rivals, 9th according to 247Sports, and 10th according to 247Sports Composite— which merges numerous recruiting services’ rankings together to create an average. On Rivals, the Volunteers trail four other SEC Schools: Texas A&M (6th), LSU (4th), Alabama (3rd), and Georgia (1st), while on 247Sports they also trail Auburn and Florida.
The future is seemingly bright on Rocky Top and with top 10 recruiting classes, like this year’s, the path to success for Jeremy Pruitt looks much more hopeful. But for now, with only one 2020 target remaining on the board for Tennessee, all of the attention will turn toward next year’s 2021 class.