KNOXVILLE— The Vols were scheduled to host five official visitors over the weekend, yet just two prospects with public plans to travel to Knoxville made it on campus. Icy conditions and an illness kept 4-star linebacker E.J. Levenberry away, but he has rescheduled for the coming week. Four-star defensive end Antonio Riles, a Florida commit, didn’t visit and he has no plans to do so. Even if the Vols got him on campus, he was a long shot to sign with anyone other than the Gators. Likewise, a probable Auburn commitment Zach Cunningham (a 4-star linebacker) planned to arrive in Knoxville Sunday but didn’t show. It looks like he’ll sign with the Tigers. That left two scheduled visitors over the weekend, Vonn Bell and Joshua Dobbs, plus one surprise visitor, 4-star linebacker Trey Johnson. Below you’ll find information on each visiting prospect including our “Vol Forecast” of their chances to sign with Tennessee.
Vonn Bell: The 6-0, 190 pound safety is a resident of Ooltewah, Tennessee, and grew up a Vol fan. Given a 5-star rating by most recruiting services, he is one of the most prized recruits in the nation and is ranked as the No. 2 safety in the country by 247 Sports. Bell is a speedy athlete who loves to hit, has great hands, and makes plays in the secondary. He is always near the ball and has the versatility needed to play cornerback in addition to safety. Bell will be a difference maker the moment he steps on a college campus.
Vol Forecast: He visited Ohio State, Alabama, and Tennessee in consecutive weeks. While it looks like a close race between the Buckeyes, the Tide, and the Vols, Bell left Knoxville impressed with with many aspects of the Tennessee program. Along with the Vol staff and other visitors, he attended the Alabama-Tennessee game and the crowd chanted his name during timeouts. That certainly got his attention. He also developed good relationships with the Vol staff and appreciated the family atmosphere Jones is fostering. Bell certainly recognizes Jones is building something special in Knoxville, and it looks like UT is in the lead for his services. If he joins the Vols, look for him to start immediately. Tennessee’s secondary troubles are well known, and Bell is the type of playmaker who can be the difference between winning and losing a close game. Bell would be the first Vol 5-star defensive commitment since a guy you may know…Eric Berry.
Joshua Dobbs: A 6-3, 190 pound quarterback from Georgia, Dobbs is rated as a 4-star prospect. While he’s considered to be a pro-style quarterback, he can make things happen with his legs and would be a good fit in Butch Jones’ uptempo spread attack. Dobbs has excellent pocket awareness for a high school quarterback, good field vision, an efficient delivery, and is accurate with the football. He is a two sport athlete who plays shortstop on his school’s baseball team.
Vol Forecast: Things went well during his trip to Knoxville. The Vols could use another quarterback in this class (to go with 4-star QB Riley Ferguson) and Dobbs’ skill set would give him a chance to compete for a starting job from day one. He has been committed to Arizona State since June and it will be difficult to pull him away from ASU; but if any team has a shot at doing so, it’s the Vols.
Trey Johnson: The 6-2, 220 pound linebacker from Georgia is considered a 4-star recruit and rated as the No. 2 inside linebacker in the 2013 class by ESPN. Johnson is a prototypical inside linebacker in many ways. He has a solid frame, reads the run well, is a sound tackler, and excels at shedding blockers. He has the potential to see playing time as a true freshman.
Vol Forecast: He is currently committed to Ohio State and Urban Meyer isn’t fond of his commitments visiting other schools, so Johnson’s visit was a bit of a surprise. He was covert about his trip to Tennessee and even tweeted that he was in Georgia when he was in Knoxville. Vol linebacker coach Tommy Thigpen recruited Johnson at Auburn, and he may be wanting to play in the SEC and/or closer to home. No one has a good feel for Johnson’s intentions at this point, but getting him to take a covert official visit suggests the Vols may have a shot with him. We’ll continue to monitor his status closely.
It’s going to be a busy week in the Vol recruiting world. Tennessee has seven remaining official visits and Butch Jones will certainly try to use them all this weekend. As the visitor list solidifies, we’ll post a visitor preview.