Varsity Preps

Tennessee Top 20 Countdown: #10-6

In this installment of the Top 20 countdown of the best prospects in the state of Tennessee for the class of 2014, we’ll be diving into the top 10! Here, we’ll overview #10-#6. This is where the list started to get really difficult, so a lot of research was needed. It was also nice to wait until after the first games of the season here in Tennessee so that we could apply some stats to a few of the names. But without waiting a moment later, let’s continue the countdown!

#10: Charles Mosley, OL He may still be a kid, but he’s got the body of a man. Charles Mosley, a two-way lineman out of Brighton HS in Brighton, is 6’5″ and a whopping 346lbs. Just on his physique alone it’s no wonder so many big-time programs have offered Mosley. And he doesn’t just look big and strong, he is strong. While part of his dominance could stem from the fact the he is so much larger than a lot of his opposition, he can still overpower opposing lineman of (somewhat) similar size. He’s not the fastest guy, but I wouldn’t use that against him, you know, because he’s a lineman. He’s also not as explosive as some others, just in Tennessee, at getting off the line, but his motor skills and athleticism are still way above average. I compare his style on the line to the difference between a speed and power back. Mosley may not have the speed and acceleration to get penetration every time, but you can bet he’s going to overpower and wear down his opposition over the course of every game. When it comes to his recruitment, he is still undecided, but his widely-recognized top two are Alabama and Tennessee. For much of the recruiting cycle, it has been though that the Crimson Tide have been the favorite for Charles, but with the momentum that Tennessee has been carrying for much of this cycle and an increased presence in Mosley’s recruitment, the Vols have become an overwhelming favorite according to analysts who use the crystal ball feature from 247sports. His other offers include Auburn, Georgia, Ole Miss, Miss St, MTSU, and Memphis. A YouTube highlight reel was not available for Charles Mosley. Here is a link to a video from the Rivals site: http://rivals.yahoo.com/video/recruiting-football/Top-remaining-offensive-targets-1116615;_ylt=AkNm4owapLXtWoaenQmYraLwOrF_

#9: Emmanuel Smith, DB Coming in at #9 is Oakland High DB Emmanuel Smith, out of Murfreesboro. Smith is another one of those two-way high school players because of his talent level. For Oakland, he primarily plays safety on defense, but can easily switch positions in the secondary, and he is a running back on offense. Smith, at 6’2″ 202lbs has largely been recruited as a safety. Emmanuel has been a master at both the free and strong safety positions, amassing 77 tackles, 4 forced fumbles, and one interception in 2012. Rivals has him as a 5.8 four-star, and is ranked #30 at his position nationally. Smith has been a long-time Vanderbilt commit, since march, and they have remained as a large presence in his recruitment. Smith currently has three other “major” offers, including Vandy rival Tennessee, as well as Louisville and Oregon State. MTSU and Memphis have both also offered this middle Tennessee prospect. As this season rolls along, I expect him to receive more offers, but also that, barring a surge in attention from Tennessee, he will remain a Vanderbilt commit. Again, no video from Emmanuel was readily available, but here is an interview from Dave Hooker (now a radio host for 1180 TSR in Knoxville) talking to Emmanuel and his brother, Josh Smith, from March.

#8 Derek Barnett, DE Next on the countdown is another large physical specimen in Derek Barnett, a 6’3″ 270 lb strongside DE out of Brentwood Academy in Brentwood. Seems like Tennessee is turning out some BIG boys in the class of 2014. And where do we start in talking about Barnett? He’s been a hot commodity since the beginning of last year and it’s not hard to see why. He has decent speed for a lineman, running a 4.96 40-time. He’s physically big and takes advantage of that, but also plays like he’s a safety in that he uses his speed and excellent athleticism to get past offensive lineman and into the backfield. And Barnett was in the backfield a lot. In 2012, he had 52 total tackles, with 14 being for a loss and six of those being sacks, and also recovered 3 fumbles. So we know he’s big and quick. What else makes him special? He has great closing speed and once he locks in on a target, consider that carrier taken down. His pursuit skills are above average and to add insult to injury (Being his size and physicality) he is excellent at getting a great jump off the snap, and his hand skills help him to evade block attempts from offensive guards. Barnett’s recruitment is still open and many schools have put a horse in the race. His offer list is at 17 schools, including eight SEC members. The top offers are from Tennessee, Vandy, LSU, South Carolina, Texas A&M, Ohio State, and Florida State. The Commodores and Vols are the top two players for Barnett, but many aren’t necessarily counting out Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes. However, most think that when the checkered flag waves in this recruiting race, Butch Jones and the Vols will be the “horse” that earns Derek’s commitment.

#7: Vic Wharton, ATH Vic is a versatile Athlete out of Independence High in Nashville. He stands at 6’1″ 172lb, and has primarily been an offensive player, being a slot WR and a RB when needed. In looking at his physical stats and game film, it’s easy to see that Wharton is a smaller guy. He’s also not a barn burner with his speed. But where he lacks in size and speed, he makes up for it with athletic ability on the field. Even without above average speed, he can still create explosive plays. In his first game of this season, he caught nine passes for 202 yards, two touchdowns, and had a rushing TD as well in a win over Kenwood. He can also turn on a time and his foot skills are above average, which is a key to his success in playing in the slot. Wharton has been a long-time Vol commit and has been an avid recruiter for his future team. Other offers for his services include Cincinnati, ULL, Miss State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, Purdue, North Carolina, and Wake Forest. But judging by all of the work he has put in helping Butch Jones recruit players to Tennessee, it’s hard to see him swaying away from the Volunteers.

#6: Rashaan Gaulden, DB Speaking of players that Vic Wharton has contacted to join him at Tennessee, here’s one in Rashaan Gaulden. He didn’t have to look far, as Gaulden is a DB out of the same school was Wharton, in Independence. Gaulden started his HS ball at Brentwood, but a family situation prompted the move to Independence. Rashaan, at 6’1″ 170lb, has been a two-way player for his high school career, but is being recruited as a safety. He doesn’t weigh much, but he definitely has the frame to add some weight when he gets into a college program. Gaulden is a hard hitter on defense and is excellent at reading plays as they develop and utilizes that to get to the intended receiver or ball-carrier and contains any damage done. He is the kind of player you want in your secondary to prevent the big play. He could just about the cover the field by himself, easily transitioning between free and strong safety, but his lack of “big-time” speed and reputation as a hard hitter may keep him at SS at the next level. As I said before, he is another two-way player and he plays WR alongside Wharton on offense. In that first game against Kenwood, he caught five passes for 60 yards, and on defense recording an incredible 19 tackles in the game. I spoiled it before that he is a Tennessee commit, but his offer list is still something worth mentioning. He has 12 total offers including UT, and half are from SEC schools. Kentucky and Vandy were also big players in the recruitment of Gaulden before his eventual commitment to the Volunteers. Peer pressure can be a big deal, and I think as Rashaan continues to impress in his senior season, he will remain committed to Tennessee.

We’ve finished the profile of the 6th ranked prospect in Tennessee and you know what that means…the next installment will be the final and will feature the top five players in the state of Tennessee for the class of 2014. Please feel free to leave comments and suggestions as to how you think the top 5 should look. Stay tuned!

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